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Ariel Atkins scored 18 of her 23 points in the first half to lift the host Washington Mystics to an 89-71 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night.

Former WNBA MVP Tina Charles collected 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Mystics (4-5) won their second consecutive game. Theresa Plaisance scored 11 points and blocked four shots.

Te'a Cooper scored 11 points, Brittney Sykes had 10 and Amanda Zahui B. added nine for the Sparks (4-4), who saw their two-game winning streak come to a halt.

Zahui B. was hit in the face late in the third quarter when Atkins tried to pass the ball away while on the floor.

Atkins scored Washington's first eight points, highlighted by pair of 3-pointers.

The Sparks missed their first six shots.

Charles scored eight consecutive points at one point in the first quarter for the Mystics, including two off free throws after going right at Zahui B. The two were teammates in New York from 2016-19.

The Mystics led 21-10 after Kiara Leslie knocked down a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.

The Sparks closed the gap to 23-18 early in the second quarter after Bria Holmes scored off a steal with 9:29 to play until halftime.

Erica McCall drilled a jumper with a defender in her face and Atkins buried three free throws to stretch the Washington lead to 28-18.

Arella Guirantes' 3-pointer cut the Sparks' deficit to 44-35 with 21.8 seconds to play in the half.

She tried to hit another one before the halftime buzzer but wasn't able to get it off, running into the double team of Natasha Cloud and Myisha Hines-Allen.

Holmes gave the Sparks a sliver of hope when she made a layup at the 8:24 mark of the third.

Charles answered with two 3-pointers as the Mystics surged in front 58-44.

A Mitchell 3-pointer gave Washington a 69-51 after three.

Washington saw its lead grow to 79-55 with 6:37 remaining when Leslie stole a pass and took off down the floor for an easy layup.

--Field Level Media

This article originally ran on Content Exchange

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