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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.

Swoopes had 21 points and six assists and Thompson had 15 points and seven rebounds. Shalonda Enis led the Mystics with 13 points and Murriel Page came off the bench for 10 points.

Cooper played despite a sprained right ankle she sustained in practice on Thursday and matched the 24 points she scored in the season opener.

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.