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Mystics Stand Strong To Finish Off The Fever, Clinch Playoff Berth

It's been a rough road trip for the Mystics to say the least. After defeating the Phoenix Mercury in their last home game on August 28th, the magical number to clinch a playoff berth sat at ONE. It would take nearly two weeks for the Mystics to obtain that one win. Riding a season high four game losing streak, the Mystics came home to a sense of urgency needing a win in the final three games to secure a playoff berth. The problem was they had to go through their nemesis the Indiana Fever, who has had their way with the Mystics including 73-62 win almost a month ago. The question coming into the game was simple, did the Mystics want it bad enough? The answer was a refreshing yes. Led by the ferociously competitive Ivory Latta who finished with a season high 25 points the Mystics pulled out a 76-72 overtime win, securing a playoff spot. The celebration after the game was all the evidence one needed to see at how hard the Mystics had to fight to earn this victory. The berth makes it three years in a row that the Mystics have advanced to playoffs, a testament to the great job done from the front office all the way down to the ladies leaving blood sweat and tears on the floor. The Fever would jump out to an 11 point lead TWICE in the second half, helped, by 22 turnovers from the Mystics, however the Mystics would go on a 15-2 run led by the energetic Latta. After Fever guard Layshia Clarendon (15 points/ 3 rebounds/2 assist) hit a tough jumper to tie the game at 66 to ultimately send the game into overtime, the Mystics took control and never looked back. In a total team effort, all star forward Emma Meesseman (9 points/5 rebounds) and key reserve guard Taylor Hill (14 points) hit crucial shots to tie the game in overtime with 1:32 left. Then LaToya Sanders (13 points/12 rebounds) came up with two of the biggest plays of the season. Sanders would block living legend Tamika Catchings (10 points/7 rebounds) on the next Fever possession and would gather a big offensive rebound and convert the clutch putback off of Latta's miss to put the Mystics up once and for all 74-72. Latta would ice the game with two final free throws to secure the win. This is the type of fight the Mystics will have to bring each and every game in the playoffs if they are to go on a championship run. With what I saw on display last night, the Mystics appear to be more then ready to do just that. The Mystics take on the New York Liberty on Friday at 7:30pm, their likely first round playoff match-up.

Reserve guard Taylor Hill was very aggressive in the Mystics win over the Fever

Sanders was huge off the bench finishing with an impressive double double of 13 points and 12 rebounds against a physical front line

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