The Washington Mystics are facing a must-win situation as they prepare to visit the New York Liberty on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
New York (21-11) is leading the WNBA's Eastern Conference, 4 1/2 games ahead of the Indiana Fever. With two games remaining in the regular season, the Liberty are locked into the third seed for the playoffs.
Washington (12-19) is fifth in the Eastern Conference, 8 1/2 games behind New York and two games behind the Phoenix Mercury for the final playoff spot.
The Mystics have lost two in a row, four of their last six and 11 of their last 14. One more Washington loss or one win by Phoenix would eliminate the Mystics from playoff contention.
Washington has three games remaining in the regular season. The Mystics will visit Atlanta on Thursday before concluding their regular-season schedule at home against Connecticut on Sunday.
Phoenix has games remaining against the Los Angeles Sparks, the Seattle Storm and the San Antonio Stars. Phoenix beat Washington in each of their three meetings this season and would hold the tiebreaker should they finish with identical records.
New York has lost two of its last three and three of six since the Olympic break. The Liberty are coming off an 84-81 loss to the Dallas Wings. New York trailed by 22 points before storming back to get within two in the waning moments. Tina Charles had 29 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in the loss, her league-leading 19th double-double of the season.
Washington is coming off an 80-73 loss to Indiana. Emma Meesseman scored 19 points for the Mystics. Tayler Hill added 15 points and Kia Vaughn came off the bench to score 12.
Hill is leading the Mystics in scoring at 15.7 points per game. Meesseman averages 15.2 points per game.
Charles now leads the WNBA in scoring and rebounding, averaging 21.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Sugar Rodgers averages 14.8 points.