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Sky fails to get on track against Mystics

Updated: July 9, 2014 10:07PM

Regardless of whether Elena Delle Donne returns anytime soon, the Sky have big problems to resolve. Some of the issues led to another defeat in what has been a trying season as the Sky lost 72-65 to the Washington Mystics on Wednesday at Allstate Arena.

The Sky (8-11) shot a season-low 31.3 percent, allowed the Mystics (8-12) to score 16 second-chance points and gave them 23 free-throw attempts, many of the fouls being committed on long jumpers. The latter two especially bothered coach Pokey Chatman, whose team lost for the 10th time in its last 13 and already has one more regular-season defeat than last year.

“If we don’t correct those things and stay connected to it, we’re not going to win another game,” Chatman said.

Winning, and life in general, has been much harder for the Sky than last year.

All five starters have missed time. The Sky were without Delle Donne and point guard Courtney Vandersloot (left knee) on Wednesday. Delle Donne’s status has been in question since she missed her first game June 10 after suffering a reoccurrence of Lyme disease symptoms, and Wednesday was her 10th absence in 11 games.

Chatman was optimistic Delle Donne wouldn’t miss the rest of the season. Chatman even said if she had to bet on it, she would wager on Delle Donne returning sometime after the All-Star game on July 19.

But even if Delle Donne returns then, the Sky will be well behind the pace they set last year and far from the top teams in the league.

“You’ve just got to stay focused,” said Sylvia Fowles, who led the Sky with 19 points and 17 rebounds. “This is not where we want to be, but you’ve got to find something within yourself and bring it together. We have to put it together collectively as a team, just finish this half out and get back to the .500 mark.”

The Sky trailed the Mystics by 13 but pulled to within five with 2:41 left in the game. But they didn’t score the rest of the way, losing to a Mystics team that started the day tied for last in the league.

NOTE: The announced crowd of 16,402 was the biggest in franchise history. The vast majority were kids as part of Camp Day.

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