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Mystics down Sol to end skid at 4

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Mystics 60, Sol 48

MIAMI — Mired in a four-game losing streak, the Washington Mystics returned to what they knew could get them back on track: defense.

The Mystics held the Miami Sol to 21 first-half points and 27 percent shooting (17-for-62) for the game en route to a 60-48 win Thursday night.

Nikki McCray scored 16 points and Murriel Page added 13 for Washington, which also got 11 points and 12 rebounds from Vicky Bullett.

"We stepped up the pressure and we were more patient," Page said. "We really needed this win."

McCray, held to three points in the first half, began to find the range in the second. She scored 13 second-half points, and the Mystics got six from Chamique Holdsclaw, who was scoreless in the first half.

But defensively, Washington was dominant.

"I liked the way we stepped up our defense," Mystics coach Nancy Darsch said. "McCray did a good job on Sheri Sam, and Bullett handled Marlies Askamp. McCray and Holdsclaw were double and triple-teamed in the first half, so they looked for their teammates. They played like veterans."

Sam and Katrina Colleton each scored 13 points for Miami, and Askamp had eight rebounds.

"We didn't play well," Sol coach Ron Rothstein said. "You cannot shoot 27 percent and win basketball games against good teams, and that is the bottom line."

Washington led 25-21 at halftime.

"We missed some easy shots by trying to shoot over them," McCray said. "But we won the game because of our defense and making them miss the shots down the stretch. Our defense is our bread and butter."

MERCURY 72, MONARCHS 64: At Phoenix, Brandy Reed had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as Phoenix beat Sacramento for its fourth straight victory.

Reed, upset because she wasn't picked as a reserve by the league's coaches for Monday's WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, hit 10 of 18 shots from the field. She also blocked a shot.

Kedra Holland-Corn with 19 points and Yolanda Griffith had 16 rebounds for the Monarchs.

The Mercury led 63-59 with 4:06 remaining before going on a 9-4 run to close the game. Reed scored four points during the final run, and Lisa Harrison hit a 3-pointer.