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Powell leads Monarchs in rout of Mystics

Aug 23, 2009 - 5:53 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) -- Nicole Powell had 26 points and 11 rebounds to help the Sacramento Monarchs rout the Washington Mystics 82-60 on Saturday night.

Rebekkah Brunson had 16 points and seven rebounds and Scholanda Robinson added 13 points for the Monarchs (9-18), who have won four of their last five games.

"These are signs that we are playing a notch up," Monarchs coach and general manager John Whisenant said. "We still got a long way to go. We are not there yet, but we are still making progress."

Sacramento, still with league's worst record, trails fourth-place Minnesota and San Antonio by 2 1/2 games for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Monarchs have seven games remaining.

"Everybody thinks we are out of it," veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro said. "But until we are automatically out of it we are going to fight and play well for ourselves and our fans."

Crystal Langhorne had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Mystics (13-14), who have lost six of their last eight and remained tied with Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East. The Sky lost to Detroit earlier.

"Things just didn't go our way tonight," Langhorne said. "We didn't hit shots when we needed them, we didn't rebound, and we didn't play defense."

The Mystics, who commmitted 24 turnovers, shot 36 percent (21 for 59) from the field, including 0 for 9 on 3-pointers - Washington's season low for field goals made and the first time it failed to make a 3.

"Sacramento is a good team," said Washington head coach Julie Plank. "They play tough here and we knew this was really going to be a tough game whether we played the night before or not."

The Monarchs' starters outscored their counterparts 64-42.

Trailing by 15 early in the third quarter, the Mystics used a 9-3 run to pull to 50-44 on Lindsey Harding's free throw with about 2:23 left in the period.

Hamchetou Maiga-Ba had a jumper, and Powell made two free throws and a layup to stretch the Monarchs' lead back to 13 in the final minute of the third.

Washington got no closer than 10 the rest of the way. Powell made four straight free throws to push the lead to 67-49 with 6:02 left.

Mystics leading scorers Alana Beard and Harding, who average 17 and 13 points respectively, were held to a total of 14 points.

"Those two players are pretty much their bread and butter," Penicheiro said. "It helped that they played (Friday night) and they were probably a little tired and fatigued. But to stop players like that you have to do it as a team."

The Monarchs used a 9-0 run to take a 29-16 lead on Maiga-Ba's jumper with 6:09 left in the second quarter. Brunson's turnaround jumper stretched the lead to 14 nearly 3 minutes later.

Washington scored six consecutive points to pull to 37-29 on two free throws by Monique Currie in the opening minute of the second half.

However, the Monarchs scored the next seven points to stretch the lead to 15.

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