- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Mystics are going to the WNBA playoffs for the fifth time.

Lindsey Harding scored 25 points, and Washington kept its playoff hopes alive with an 82-64 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday night at Verizon Center. The Mystics (16-17) later clinched a playoff spot when Detroit defeated Chicago.

The Mystics were getting frequent updates on the Detroit-Chicago game in their locker room.

“If they lose, we’re in,” said Mystics guard Alana Beard, who scored six points on 3-for-12 shooting while playing on a sore left ankle suffered while tripping over a cameraman during the game. “We came in, we battled, it was a great team win, and we got it done. We handled our business.”

The Mystics’ final regular-season game is Sunday in New York. They will meet Indiana in the first round of the playoffs. Washington will play its home games in the first round of the playoffs at Comcast Center in College Park.

“I’m extremely proud of our team, but we are not done yet,” coach Julie Plank said. “We have to win one more game in New York. We’re definitely on a mission. They took one from us, and we’ve got to take one back from them. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

Marissa Coleman’s back-to-back 3-pointers gave Washington a 71-56 lead midway through the fourth quarter as the Mystics held on to snap a two-game losing streak.

Angel McCoughtry led the Dream (18-16) with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Iziane Castro Marques added 17 points.

Harding shot 10-for-14 and had four assists and three steals while defending the Dream’s leading scorer.

“I thought Lindsey Harding did a great job,” Plank said. “She wanted to start on Iziane Castro Marques, who is a great player, and she was on a mission and shut her down. To hold that team to 37 percent [shooting] was just a credit to our defense.”

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