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Latta, Mystics hammer Sun 82-56

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Sharing the ball proved a winning formula for the Mystics in their next to last regular-season game. Sinking one long shot after another didn't hurt.

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Ivory Latta scored 19 points and the playoff-bound Washington Mystics hit 12 of 17 3-pointers in an 82-56 rout of the Connecticut Sun on Friday night.

Kia Vaughn added 14 points and 10 rebounds, Tayler Hill matched her career-high with 16 and Monique Currie scored 13 for the Mystics (16-17), who led by 18 points in the first half and then fended off Connecticut rallies in the second half.

The Mystics are battling for the third seed in the East with the Indiana Fever, who beat the New York Liberty on Friday night.

``It's pretty hard to guard us then,'' Latta said of the perimeter accuracy. ``It was all about creating opportunities for each other. Our strength was finding the open person, making the extra, extra, extra pass.''

Latta, who made 5 of 7 shots from beyond the arc, Hill and Currie took all of Washington's 3-point tries.

Currie scored all of her points in the first half for Washington, winners of two straight and four of six. The Mystics took the season series 3-1.

Mistie Bass led the short-handed Sun (9-24) with 13 points. Connecticut trimmed Washington's lead to seven in the second half and trailed 56-47 when Hill countered with a pair of 3-pointers, starting a 17-4 spurt.

Hill, who has scored in double figures in five of her last six games, sank 4 of 5 3-pointers. The rookie's final 3 capped the scoring and provided Washington its largest lead.

``You're seeing the maturation of Tayler Hill,'' Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. ``(Monique) got us off to a good start shooting the ball. Ivory obviously shot the ball great. Everybody else just chipped in.''

Due to several injuries including guard Tan White, Connecticut had only seven players available. Sydney Carter scored 11 points and Iziane Castro Marques had 10. White sat out with a broken finger on her left and non-shooting hand.

``I think having seven bodies has a lot to do with why we weren't able to overcome (Washington) in the fourth quarter,'' Sun coach Anne Donovan said. ``We stayed with them until early in the fourth quarter and then it got away from us. That's where fatigue sets in and clearly that was the difference.''

The Sun, owners of the WNBA's worst record, entered having won two of three including a 77-70 victory over Washington last week. They have lost eight straight road games.

``They shot the ball from the 3-point line better. That was the adjustment that I saw,'' said Donovan after the Mystics made their most 3-pointers in a game this season.

The Mystics clinched their first playoff appearance since 2010 with a 69-67 win at Indiana on Tuesday that ensured a season split with the Fever, but Indiana holds the second tiebreaker due to a better conference record.

On Sunday, Washington closes the regular season by hosting New York, while Indiana plays at Connecticut.

The third seed faces Atlanta in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, while the fourth seed faces regular-season champion Chicago.

Leading 21-14 after the first quarter and 25-18 midway through the second, the Mystics pulled away with a 17-6 run highlighted by two 3-pointers from Currie. Her second score from beyond the arc gave Washington a 42-24 lead and the Mystics were ahead 42-27 at halftime.

Currie scored 10 points in the second quarter - three less than the Sun, who missed 10 of 13 field goal attempts in the period and did not have an offensive rebound in the first half.

Washington held a 24-11 rebounding advantage in the opening half and 40-28 overall.

Asked about the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Donovan said of the Mystics, ``I think Washington is kind of a wild card. ...They've been up and down. How consistent they can play in the postseason will determine how long they last.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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