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Dupree leads Sky past Mystics for 4th straight win

Jun 28, 2009 - 3:36 AM CHICAGO(AP) -- The Chicago Sky are a more balanced team this season, and it's paying off with wins.

Candice Dupree scored 23 points, Sylvia Fowles had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Sky beat the Washington Mystics 68-63 on Saturday night for their franchise-record fourth straight home victory.

"It's nice to have more than one player who likes to put the team on her back," Dupree said. "Syl had some huge rebounds and I was trying to crash the offensive boards. It was a total team effort."

Jia Perkins had 14 points and eight steals as Chicago (5-3) moved into second place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind Indiana.

"This year we're more consistent (at home)," said Fowles. "Anytime last year it might have been 'Yeah, whatever,' but we're very focused this year and we want to win."

Chicago shot just 38 percent (24 for 64) from the field and hit just 2 of 11 3-pointers.

Lindsey Harding scored 15 points, Alana Beard had 14 and Crystal Langhorne added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Mystics (4-3). Washington shot 44 percent (25 for 57).

Fowles' layup with 3:04 left gave the Sky the lead for good, 61-60. Dupree made two free throws 50 seconds later and Fowles' putback made it 65-60 with 1:49 to go.

Matee Ajavon hit a 3-pointer for Washington 14 seconds later, but Perkins' 3 restored the five-point margin with 1:04 remaining and neither team scored again.

Harding and Langhorne combined for 13 points in the third quarter as Washington used a 14-2 run to push its lead to nine with 4:42 left in the period. However, Armintie Price made three free throws and Dupree scored six points to give pull the Sky to 48-47 going into the fourth quarter.

"They got going in the second half and Candice Dupree really stepped up," Washington coach Julie Plank said. "I thought we really did a nice job on her last game, but (tonight) they really did a good job down the stretch on the boards and we weren't scoring. Their zone was effective down the stretch against us."

Chicago shot just 4 for 17 in the first quarter as Washington built a 15-8 edge. However, after being held scoreless through the first 10 minutes, Dupree scored seven points and reserve Erin Thorn added five in the second quarter to help the Sky take a 26-25 lead at halftime.