May 23, 2014

It would be an understatement to say the Washington Mystics raised a few eyebrows when they scored 118 points against the Chicago Sky on Wednesday night.

But the team ranked last at 81.1 points per game scored nearly 37 above its average to serve notice that it just might have enough offense for a playoff spot.

As the WNBA enters the home stretch of the regular season, a little confidence might go a long way for Washington, which has won two in a row - modest numbers for a team that had lost seven straight and had been given up for dead up until a couple of weeks ago.

After dominating the Sky, the Mystics appear ready to take the next step to a securing a playoff game.

With the win, Washington pulled within a half-game of the Seattle Storm (13-17) and the Phoenix Mercury (13-17), the two teams tied for seventh place in the league. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason.

On Friday, the Mystics play host to the Storm in a game set for a 4 p.m. tipoff at the Verizon Center in Washington.

The teams have split the first two meetings this season with the Mystics winning in overtime, 84-82, in May.

In July, the Storm's defense was stout and held the Sun to two single-digit scoring quarters in an 80-51 drubbing of Connecticut.

If the Mystics are going to extend their season, someone aside from Tayler Hill and Emma Meesseman has to step up. The pair combined to average 31 points per game; Hill has tried to single-handedly carry the offense the past five contests as she averages 21 points per game over that time.

Leilani Mitchell might be the key. Mitchell came off the bench and scored 20 points in the win over Chicago.

Seattle, the two-time WNBA champion, enters Friday's contest on a roll after beating the Liberty by 24 in New York. That victory was the Storm's second straight road win - they beat Atlanta by nine on Sunday.

Jewell Loyd scored 25 points against New York and Breanna Stewart added 23 and nine rebounds for the Storm, who scored 100 points in a game for the first time since 2012.

After Friday night's contest, the Storm play host to Los Angeles in their next-to-last home game of the season on Sunday.

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