Mystics face Liberty in battle for fourth place

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Washington travels to New York on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with the Liberty.

The Mystics faced every other team in the WNBA before their first meeting with the Liberty this season and seemed like they would be the favorite in their season series with New York.

However, they now sit at 0-2 against the Liberty, with a 88-78 loss at home and a 93-88 loss on the road that really should have been a win.

The Dream are the only other Eastern Conference team that the Mystics have yet to beat and it really seems like the 10-13 Liberty have the Mystics' number for some reason.

That will likely have to change if Washington wants to make the playoffs. Of their 10 remaining games five are against either the Dream or Sky, the top two teams in the East. Since those games will be particularly difficult to win, the Mystics have to treat their other five games - against either Indiana, New York or Connecticut, as must wins.

And the two remaining against the Liberty are perhaps the most important of all since New York is the team that is currently just a half a game behind Washington for the last remaining playoff spot in the East.

The Liberty will be the first obstacle the Mystics face after what will have been four days off since defeating the Sun, 74-63 last Sunday at the Verizon Center. New York and Washington will square off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Prudential Center.

In the first meeting between the two teams back on July 31, the Mystics lost the battle in the paint, 56-26. Kara Braxton, Cappie Pondexter, Plenette Pierson and Kelsey Bone all scored in double figures in that game.

In the second meeting on August 6, the Mystics led by nine entering the fourth quarter, only to be outscored in that frame, 31-17.

The Liberty have alternated losses and wins since July 20 and won their last contest, 88-82, over the Dream in Atlanta. They have two wins over Atlanta this year - their only two victories over a team that currently has a winning record.

The Mystics have the talent to match up with the Liberty despite it not seeming that way when they got bullied in the post back on July 31. They even have the talent to beat the best team in the league, which they have done twice this year. They just have to bring the effort they brought in those games to New York on Friday.

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