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Mystics end skid, topple Mercury 90-77

AP - Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Mystics used a fast start to end their skid.

Crystal Langhorne scored 22 points and Noelle Quinn scored a season-high 18 and the Mystics earned a 90-77 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.

Rookie Natalie Novosel added 12 points for the Mystics (3-10), who entered the game averaging the fewest points in the WNBA, but produced their highest scoring total of the season. Washington never trailed en route to snapping a five-game skid, which included a loss at Phoenix 12 days ago.

Charde Houston scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half for the Mercury (4-10), matching her career best. DeWanna Bonner and Samantha Prahalis each scored 20.

Langhorne scored 11 points and the Mystics finished the first quarter shooting 64.7 percent for a 27-18 lead. It marked the first time all season Washington led after the first quarter.

''First quarters and third quarters have been our Achilles' heel and the starters did a great job. They got after it defensively, got us a lead,'' Quinn said. ''We didn't have to play from behind, we didn't dig ourselves into a hole. We kept our lead, kept our aggression and just played together.

The Mystics scored a season-high 50 first-half points for a 50-41 lead at halftime and extended the lead to 16 in the second half.

Part of the Mystics' starting lineup most of the season, Quinn came off the bench against the Mercury, but was front and center throughout.

''It's a good look for me,'' Quinn said about the reserve role. ''It makes me come in there knowing that I have to be a difference maker.''

She scored eight consecutive points for Washington in the second quarter, helping to offset Bonner's 18 first-half points.

Phoenix pulled with five at 69-64 early in the fourth quarter, but the Mystics quickly countered with a 6-0 run.

''I just think because it's not done all the time, teams can forget about (Noelle) a little bit,'' Houston said. ''When you forget about her, that's when she kills you. She definitely hurt us tonight.''

Langhorne added seven points inside the final 4:46 as the Mystics held on for their third home win of the season.

''When it came time for us to make key stops, we struggled,'' Houston said.

Washington's other victories this season were by a combined four points.

''Anytime you win it's very calming,'' Langhorne said. ''When you keep losing, it's stressful. To get this win today, it's a good feeling.''

The short-handed Mercury have lost seven of nine road games this season. Diana Taurasi (hip flexor) has missed 12 of 14 games this season and Candice Dupree (left knee contusion) sat out a fifth straight game.

Washington closes its four-game homestand on Friday against San Antonio after Phoenix wraps up its four-game road trip against the Silver Stars on Tuesday.

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