Sun-Mystics Preview

The Associated Press

Seeking to maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference, the Connecticut Sun will try to benefit from a favorable portion of their schedule.

That stretch begins Tuesday night with a visit to the conference's last-place team, the Washington Mystics.

Connecticut (19-7) is assured of a playoff spot but is attempting to fend off Indiana for the top seed in the East. The Sun's lead shrunk to 1 1/2 games after an 87-80 loss in Atlanta on Sunday.

Leading scorer Tina Charles was held to 11 points in that defeat, her third-lowest total this season, and Connecticut gave up 29 in the fourth quarter.

"There were a lot of good things and a lot of bad things about tonight's game. But obviously when you lose, there are always some things you need to focus on more," guard Renee Montgomery said. "Some things we did badly today we need to go back and clean it up before we get into playoff time."

The Sun will get a good opportunity to work on their game during four consecutive contests against sub-.500 teams.

They will try to send Washington (5-21) to a season-worst sixth consecutive defeat and sweep the season series for the second consecutive year. The Sun have won eight in a row over the Mystics and four straight at the Verizon Center.

Washington lost 79-73 at New York on Saturday. Monique Currie, Crystal Langhorne and Jasmine Thomas each scored at least 18 points for the Mystics but the rest of the team provided a combined 16.

Currie had a team-best 20 points, and Thomas' 18 were one shy of matching her career high, but Washington scored only 12 in the second quarter and trailed the rest of the game.

"In the second quarter we got stagnant with the offense," coach Trudi Lacey said. "Down the stretch we had a couple crucial turnovers, but for the most part we competed very hard."

Connecticut's Asjha Jones scored a season-high 22 points in the most recent meeting with Washington on July 11, but she hasn't played in a WNBA game since due to an injured Achilles.

The Mystics may wish they could also avoid Charles, who is averaging 19.0 points on 52.4 percent shooting in the season series. Langhorne certainly isn't to blame for those four defeats, shooting 56.4 percent (31 of 55) and averaging 17.5 points.

Washington hasn't dropped six in a row since a nine-game skid Aug. 13-30, 2011.