WASHINGTON (AP) _ Cynthia Cooper scored 20 points and blew open the game single-handedly by scoring nine in a row at the end of the first half as the Houston Comets rolled past the Washington Mystics 81-54 Wednesday.

Cooper strolled down the lane for back-to-back layups, converted a steal into a fast-break layup and hit a 3-pointer in a 16-2 half-ending run that put the Comets (5-1) up 39-24. The Mystics (2-2) didn't get close again as they fell to 0-6 lifetime against the three-time WNBA champions.

Cooper finished 8-for-12 from the field. Sheryl Swoopes also had 20 points for the Comets, making 10 of 15 shots. Tina Thompson added 17 points and went 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

Chamique Holdsclaw led the Mystics with 16 points, but she made just seven of 17 shots after entering the game with a 57 percent field goal percentage on the season.

Washington had been shooting 52 percent as a team, but managed just 39 percent against the Comets.

The other half of the Mystics' star tandem, Nikki McCray, didn't fare any better, making just two of 10 shots, including 1 of 7 3-pointers, and finished with five points. Point guard Andrea Nagy, whose eight assists per game led the league going into the game, had only three assists and four turnovers.

The Comets shot 59 percent, including 58 percent from 3-point range.