Mystics-Fever Preview

The Associated Press

The Washington Mystics need one more win or a loss by the team chasing them to punch a ticket to the WNBA playoffs for the first time in three years.

That clinching victory, however, has been particularly elusive for the Mystics.

Washington might have another difficult time taking care of business Tuesday night when it tries to snap a six-game road losing streak against the Indiana Fever, who can lock up third place in the Eastern Conference.

Following a 5-2 surge at the end of August, the Mystics (14-17) haven't been able to secure the win they've needed to clinch their first playoff berth since 2010.

They'll take their third shot at it in this game, though they've dropped their last six trips to Indiana by an average of 16.8 points. Even if they're unable to end that skid, the Mystics can also grab a trip to the playoffs with a New York loss to Phoenix since they lead the fifth-place Liberty by three games with three remaining.

With a win, Washington would move into a tie with Indiana (15-16) for third place.

"We want to win the rest of our games," said forward Monique Currie, "so if we can look at it that way, just trying to finish the season with some momentum and not worry about it, I think that will take care of itself."

Currie had 13 points and guard Ivory Latta finished with 18 on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range in a 93-79 home loss to top-seeded Chicago on Sunday. Crystal Langhorne added 16 points, but the Mystics never led after the first quarter on the way to their second straight defeat.

Washington will likely need a big performance from its pair of leading scorers to upend the Fever. Latta and Langhorne combined for 30 points on 7-of-29 shooting in two losses to Indiana in July but teamed up for 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting in a 64-60 home win June 16.

That contributed to Indiana's injury-plagued 1-7 start. The Fever, however, have since won 14 of 23 and clinched their ninth straight postseason berth with Saturday's 69-60 victory over Connecticut.

"When we came in (the locker room) it was just like a relief," said Tamika Catchings, who had 15 points, six rebounds and four steals. "I would like to see us going into the playoffs on a winning streak."

Catchings will try to lead Indiana to its first three-game winning streak since July 13-21. She put up one of her best performances with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 65-52 win in the nation's capital July 21.

The Fever are still without forward Katie Douglas due to a bulging disc, while guard Erin Phillips is expected back after missing two games because of an eye injury.

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