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Cooper & Comets pound Mystics

HOUSTON -- Two-time MVP Cynthia Cooper scored 24 points as the defending WNBA-champion Houston Comets sent top pick Chamique Holdsclaw and the Washington Mystics to their second-straight defeat 88-63 Saturday.

Holdsclaw led Tennessee to three straight NCAA championships and had 18 points in her pro debut but she couldn't keep up with the Comets. She was held to six points but did manage a game-high 13 rebounds.The Comets, who have won the title in each of the WNBA's two seasons, received their championship trophy and rings in a pregame ceremony and circled the court receiving well wishes from the fans and high-fives from the Mystics.

The Comets broke from an 11-point halftime lead with a 22-9 spurt for a 66-42 lead with 11:12 to play. Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson went to the bench with the Comets up 79-48 with 6:41 to play.

LYNX 68, SHOCK 51: At Minneapolis, Tonya Edwards scored 20 points to lead Minnesota to a victory over Detroit in the franchise's inaugural game.

Brandy Reed added 16 points for the Lynx, while Sonja Tate added 12 points and seven assists.

LIBERTY 68, STING 57: At Charlotte, N.C., Sophia Witherspoon scored 17 points and New York rode its second consecutive strong defensive showing of the season to a victory over Charlotte.

Tamika Whitmore added 12 points and eight rebounds for New York, which harassed the Sting into 18 turnovers and converted them into 19 points.

SPARKS 75, ROCKERS 59: At Cleveland, Lisa Leslie had 30 points and 18 rebounds to lead Angeles Sparks to a victory over Cleveland.

Leslie matched her career high in points, a mark she achieved three times last season.

MONARCHS 96, MERCURY 85: At Sacramento, Calif., Yolanda Griffith scored 19 of her 31 points in the second half to spark Sacramento, which set a franchise record for points.

Griffith, the No. 2 overall pick in this season's WNBA draft, made her homecourt debut a memorable one before a crowd of 11,221.