64 - 82 Final
  for this game

Harding scores 25 to lead playoff-bound Mystics

Sep 13, 2009 - 2:56 AM WASHINGTON(AP) -- The Mystics are heading 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. 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-of-12 shooting while playing on a sore left ankle sustained while tripping over a camera man during the game.

"We came in, we battled, it was a great team win, and we got it done," she said. "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 the Comcast Center on the University of Maryland campus in College Park.

"I'm extremely proud of our team, but we are not done yet," Mystics 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 of 14 from the field 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."

Chasity Melvin had 12 points for the Mystics, and Crystal Langhorne added 11 points and eight rebounds.

"I think this will make it even sweeter to get into the playoffs," said Mystics forward Monique Currie, who scored eight points. "We've controlled our destiny and we're coming off a huge win tonight."

Dream guard Shalee Lehning left with an injured left shoulder with 1:37 remaining in the second quarter and did not return. She collided with Harding while scrapping on the floor for a loose ball, and is day-to-day.