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Hammon leads Silver Stars to 12th straight win

AP - Sports

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Becky Hammon scored 22 points to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to their 12th straight victory, 75-72 against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.

Danielle Robinson added 16 points and Sophia Young 13 for the Silver Stars (16-5).

Coming off their largest margin of victory of the season - 42 points Sunday at Phoenix - the Silver Stars had to fend off a late rally to beat the Mystics.

''Because we won by so much against Phoenix, coming in here, I think we may have taken Washington for granted a little bit,'' Young said. ''I don't think we brought enough energy.''

Crystal Langhorne had 17 points, including 11 in the final quarter, to lead Washington (5-17) on a late rally. Jasmine Thomas also scored 17 points and Monique Currie had 12.

After shooting 45 percent against the Mercury, the Silver Stars missed 24 of 37 shots in the first half against the Mystics.

''(Missed) some shots?'' Hammon said. ''(We missed) all the shots. It was rough going there. That happens. What you want to do is keep playing defense, try to stay within striking distance or maintain a little bit of a lead because you know the shooting is eventually going to come around.''

Leading by one point at halftime, the Silver Stars outscored Washington 26-12 in the third quarter totake a commanding lead into the fourth.

''We talked about what we needed to do (in the second half),'' Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. ''The main thing is San Antonio came out more focused and played with more sense of urgency in the third quarter than we did.''

Hammon scored 12 points in the third, opening with a 3-pointer and a driving layup to extend San Antonio's lead to 40-32. She added another 3 following a layup by Robinson to extend the Silver Stars' advantage to 47-37 with 5:23 left in the third.

''When our posts sprint down to that block, it puts a lot of pressure on them because most of the time it's a guard,'' Hammon said. ''I know I got a couple of 3s in transition, but it's because our post players ran and pulled all that defense.''

Washington pulled within six points late in the fourth. Currie opened the rally, hitting a jumper to cut the lead to 63-52 with 7 minutes left. Langhorne hit two jumpers to pull Washington to 67-61 with 4 minutes remaining.

''I have to compliment Washington,'' San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. ''They just competed and they were physical and tough minded. They didn't go away. I mean, we put them down 15 points and they kept coming back.''

Robinson hit her second straight short jumper to give San Antonio a 71-62 edge a minute later. Robinson scored six of her points in the final 3 minutes to help the Silver Stars preserve their win streak.

''Wasn't that amazing - from a standpoint of shot-making,'' Hughes said of Robinson. ''We moved the ball well, but if your strategy is to leave her open, she's evolving into an excellent mid-range shooter. Those were pressure shots.''

San Antonio's Shameka Christon stole a crosscourt pass with less than two minutes remaining on a 3-on-2 break and the Mystics trailing 71-65. Young hit one of two free throws on the next possession.

Washington closed to 75-72 on Thomas' 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining, but Young was able to dribble out the clock after getting behind the defense on the ensuing inbounds.

Despite going 3 for 15 to open the game, San Antonio tied the game at 9-all on a pair of free throws by Young. Post Jayne Appel had four of her game-high 10 rebounds in the first 5 minutes.

Washington didn't fare much better offensively, going 3 for 13 in the first quarter.

Hughes was assessed a technical foul with 3 minutes left in the first half after throwing his jacket onto the bench and had to be restrained by Young. Hughes was upset with a no call when Robinson lost the ball on a contested layup on a fastbreak.

The technical sparked a pair of 3-pointers by Hammon that gave the Silver Stars a 33-27 lead. The Mystics cut the deficit on a 3-pointer by Thomas and a long jumper by Currie with 0.2 seconds left. Currie's shot was initially ruled a 3 but changed after a video review at the half.

NOTES: Two bats were flying around the court at the AT&T Center before the game and during the first half. Hammon attempted to knock them down by tossing a basketball at them twice during pregame warmups. ... San Antonio F Tangela Smith appeared in her first home this year after missing the opening months following left knee surgery during the offseason.

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