Charles scores 31 to help Mystics beat Sky 79-71

CHICAGO (AP) — Tina Charles had 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to help the Washington Mystics beat the Chicago Sky 79-71 on Sunday.

The Mystics (12-18) — who played without Elena Delle Donne (back), Ariel Atkins (personal reasons) and Myisha Hines-Allen (non-COVID illness) — have a one-game lead, with two games to play, over the Los Angeles Sparks and the New York Liberty for the final playoff spot.

Charles scored 10 points and hit two of Washington’s five 3-pointers during a 21-1 run that gave the Mystics the lead for good. Chicago went scoreless over the last four minutes of the first quarter as the Mystics ripped off 15 consecutive points. After a defensive 3-seconds technical foul, Allie Quigley made a free throw to snap a scoring drought of nearly seven minutes but Charles and Leilani Mitchell made back-to-back 3s to cap the spurt and made it 30-15 with 7:08 left in the first half.

Chicago (15-15) needs to win one of its final two games to secure the No. 6 seed — and a first-round game at home — in the playoffs.

Natasha Cloud had 16 points and eight assists and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 14 points and had a career-high six steals for Washington.

Azurá Stevens led the Sky with a season-high 18 points. Quigley added 15 points and Candace Parker had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Chicago made just 3 of 22 (13.6%) from 3-point range.

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