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Silver Stars top slumping Mystics for fifth straight win

WASHINGTON -- The San Antonio Silver Stars had only one starter score in double figures and collectively they finished with more turnovers than assists. Playing against the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, they still managed to open the second half of the season with a win.

Becky Hammon scored 22 points and San Antonio's reserves combined for 35 points as the Silver Stars held off the Washington Mystics 73-67 on Tuesday night.

"We'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day," said Hammon, who was honored at last weekend's All-Star Game as one of the Top 15 WNBA players of all-time. "We wanted to come out and set a good tone for the second half of our season and it started here. We just wanted to take care of business."

Quiet offensively much of the second half, Hammon's 3-pointer with 4:56 left in the game broke a 57-all tie and gave the Silver Stars (10-5) the lead for good. The win was San Antonio's fifth straight at Washington and the Silver Stars kept pace at the top of the competitive Western Conference standings.

"Most of the time I feel like I have to get other people going," said Hammon, the WNBA's assist leader, who finished with only two as she picked up the scoring slack. "On nights when it's a struggle, sometimes you just have to take more shots than you normally would."

Trailing 63-61 with 2:54 remaining after a pair of free throws by Nicky Anosike, the Mystics (3-12) missed an opportunity on the subsequent possession to tie it again. The Silver Stars then scored the next six points, capped by Hammon's two free throws, and made six straight from the line over the final 29 seconds.

"She runs the team, that's no secret," Jia Perkins said of Hammon, a six-time All-Star. "We follow her. She's our leader. "

Perkins led the Silver Stars reserves with 10 points as Hammon was the only starter in double figures. The Silver Stars bench outscored the Mystics reserves 35-13 and outrebounded them 17-5.

"That's what we talk about before every game, bringing that energy and making sure that there is no letdown between the starters and the bench," said San Antonio's Jayne Appel, who had eight points and 12 rebounds.

Crystal Langhorne scored 19 points and Marissa Coleman added 14 points for the Mystics, losers of two straight and seven of eight overall. Anosike missed all eight of her field-goal attempts.

"They made plays and we didn't," Langhorne said. "We turned the ball over, we had our chances. We would take a quick shot when we didn't need too. Things like that, it has to stop."

San Antonio finished with 16 turnovers compared with 11 assists, but Washington gave the ball away 19 times on its own. It was an ugly affair for long stretches, including a 4:29 span early in the third quarter where the teams missed all eight field-goal attempts and committed 11 turnovers.

The Silver Stars righted the ship first and took their largest lead at 51-44 on a layup by Appel with 1:09 left in the quarter. Washington quickly scored the final seven points of the quarter to tie the score at 51.

San Antonio, closing a three-game road trip, led 37-34 at halftime in the first meeting of the season between the two squads. Hammon led all scorers with 13 first-half points while Langhorne scored 10 for the Mystics. The Silver Stars improved to 5-0 when leading at halftime.