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Mystics-Liberty Preview

AP - Sports

The Washington Mystics are enjoying their longest winning streak in four years after beating the Eastern Conference leaders over the weekend.

With Ivory Latta leading the way, Washington tries to stay hot Tuesday night against the host New York Liberty.

The Mystics (13-13) have climbed toward the top of the standings on the strength of a four-game winning streak, averaging 81.8 points in those victories. Washington, which has won six of seven overall, pulled within three games of first-place Atlanta after defeating the Dream 77-67 on Sunday.

The Mystics, holding teams to a WNBA-low 41.3 percent shooting, limited Atlanta to 37.3 percent.

"We're doing things the right way," coach Mike Thibault said. "We're moving the basketball, we're playing good team defense. We took another good team and held them to under 40.0 percent."

Latta led the way with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists. The All-Star guard is averaging 21.3 points over the last three games, significantly higher than her season mark of 12.3 per contest.

Washington is at .500 for the first time since it was 5-5 on June 13, and its four-game run is the team's longest since closing 2010 with six straight victories.

"Everybody's feeding off each other. This is a collective unit that's finally coming together and buying into what we need to do," Latta said. "It's a great feeling right now, but we can't get complacent. It's going to be a dogfight every night in the Eastern Conference.

"We just have to maintain what we're doing and keep this confidence and keep this swagger."

The home team has taken both of this season's previous meetings, with New York winning 81-64 on June 8. Kara Lawson was the only Mystic to reach double figures, scoring 17 points off the bench as Washington shot 33.3 percent.

The Liberty (10-14) had won a season best-tying three in a row overall before falling 78-63 at Phoenix on Saturday. Tina Charles had 20 points, but Cappie Pondexter scored 12 while shooting 6 of 18.

New York shot 32.5 percent, going 1 of 12 from 3-point range.

"We played out of our game, it wasn't our normal game," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We just, for whatever reason, quick shooting, taking shots we don't normally shoot, going one-on-one, not getting any offense."

Pondexter, who missed all five of her 3-point attempts, is 3 for her last 30 from beyond the arc. She did, however, score 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting in last month's win over the Mystics.

Latta, meanwhile, leads the league with 59 made 3s.

Though New York is 3-9 on the road, it's won four of its last five at Madison Square Garden.

The teams meet again next Tuesday in Washington.

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