The Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm and fell back in the WNBA standings.

The Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm and fell back in the WNBA standings.

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Opinion

With the game on the line, the home game in jeopardy and the head-to-head finals close to being decided, the Washington Mystics put the ball in the hands of their two leaders. Both times came up empty.

With a chance to climb to No. 4 in the WNBA standings, a position that would allow them to host a playoff series, the Mystics fell; 82-77To the Seattle Hurricanes. Both teams have six games remaining, and now the Storm (19-11) not only have the lead in games, but also hold the gap between the teams.

The teams will play again at the Recreation and Sports Arena on Sunday, with the Mystics (18-12) getting a chance to draw. With Saturday’s win, the Hurricanes clinched a playoff spot. The Mystics clinched their playoff berth later Saturday when Atlanta lost to Dallas.

These are like the best games,” says Elena Delle Donne, the mysterious frontline player. “Of course, when you lose, they’re not as fun. But they are just fun, playoff-atmosphere type games. And our people were in it. These are the games we play and live.

Unfortunately, the result is not what we would like to see, but these are very good preparation games.

Washington rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to one with 21 seconds left. Two-time MVP Dale Don missed a runner by seven feet with Izzy Magbegor driving to left. The mystics were looking for an evil call that never came. Breanna Stewart hit a pair of free throws to put Seattle up 80-77 with 11.8 seconds left and Washington had a chance to tie the game at three. Natasha Cloud finished with an open 28-footer.

Delle Donne was a dominant player on the floor, finishing with 22 points on 50 percent shooting, five rebounds and three blocks. Arielle Atkins added 13 points on her 26th birthday and Shakira Austin finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, the rookie’s third double-double. Cloud had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Mysha Hines-Allen is eight points past 1,000 in her career.

Stewart (18 points), Jewell Lloyd (17) and Tina Charles (16 with nine rebounds) did the heavy lifting for the Hurricanes.

“We can’t let one mistake domino the rest of the next game and all the plays after that,” Washington guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough said. “I think that was one of our big things. We let one play affect the next.

Here’s what else you need to know about the disappearance of mystics:

The Hurricanes used a 20-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to build a 15-point cushion and the rest of the way. The Mystics only made one field goal in that run. Six of Washington’s 14 turnovers came in that 7:35 period.

“We have to make some layups that we missed; we don’t have to turn them over,” coach Mike Tibbalt said. I hope we take away that you have to value every asset. You can’t have it in a game like this. [14] A change in the playoffs. … It comes down to the little things.

“Get back on the horse and let’s go. Can’t sit here and cry about it. It does us no good.”

Thibault and assistant Eric Thibault received technical fouls at the same time during the stretch.

Saturday was the opener of a four-game stretch where the Mystics will face three of the top four teams in the standings. They host the Las Vegas Aces (21-8) on Tuesday and travel to face the Chicago Sky (22-7) on Friday. That gives the mystics a chance to rise in the ranks. Then they will host the Los Angeles Sparks (12-16), who are in the 8th position, a week from Sunday.

Charles made her third appearance on the Mystics’ home stage since leaving the team in free agency during the offseason. The first two came with the Phoenix Mercury before the two sides agreed to terms. The first MVP signed with the Tide as she continued her pursuit of her first championship.

Seattle coach Noelle Quinn said the team tried to integrate Charles, using her skills to fit her into the established system.

“She’s trying to match her strengths to where our weaknesses were,” Quinn said. “And that’s on the offensive end, scoring goals. We know she’s a bucket and a good scorer in this league. We will do our best to make up for the difference in how we play by making sure we put her in a position to be successful.

Washington held a pregame ceremony to say goodbye to Storm players Sue Bird and Brian January. The 13-time All-Star, four-time champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist talked about his Bird memories in a video montage featuring Mystic players and Tybalt. Both received a package of DC-related items.

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