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Ariel Atkins scores 29, Mystics blow 15-point lead before beating Sky 83-81

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ariel Atkins scored a season-high 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting to help the Washington Mystics hold on to beat the Chicago Sky 83-81 on Friday night for their second consecutive win after 12 straight losses to open the season.

Julie Vanloo hit a 3-pointer with 2:49 to play that ended a scoring drought of 5-plus minutes for the Mystics (2-12) and stretched their lead to 79-71. Lindsay Allen answered with a layup, Chennedy Carter added a three-point play and Angel Reese was fouled as she made a layup and hit the and-1 free throw to cap an 8-1 spurt and trim Chicago’s deficit to 81-79 with 1:12 left.

Atkins responded with two free throws before Allen made a driving layup that made it a one-possession game with 50 seconds to go.

The teams exchanged empty possessions before Allen missed a potential winning corner 3-point shot in the closing seconds. Stefanie Dolson of the Mystics fouled out when she dived for the loose ball with 0.2 seconds left. Marina Mabrey — who went into the game shooting 83% from the line this season — missed thenfree throws and the Mystics held on.

Aaliyah Edwards, the No. 6 overall selection in the 2024 draft, fouled out with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

The Sky (4-8) have lost three games in a row and five of their last six.

Carter led Chicago with 16 points and Reese had 10 points and 14 rebounds, the rookie's fifth consecutive double-double. Dana Evans scored 14, Kamilla Cardoso 12 and Allen finished with 10.

Washington led by as many as 15 points. Chicago went scoreless for the first 4-plus minutes of the game, missing its first eight shots before Mabrey hit a 3-pointer to make it 9-3. Myisha Hines-Allen made a free throw to give the Mystics a 23-8 lead with a minute left in the first quarter.

Washington took a 47-36 lead into halftime but Evans scored eight points — including two 3-pointers — in a 14-6 run that made it 56-all with 2:56 left in the third quarter. Karlie Samuelsson scored 12 points for Washington.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

The Associated Press