Washington Mystics clinch third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, blow out the New York Liberty, 70-52

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Tayler Hill strikes again and leads the way with 16 points as the Mystics get to a 17-17 record for the 2013 season and earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

In addition to Hill, who played 31 minutes, and made four three point shots out of nine attempts, Ivory Latta and Kia Vaughn also added 12 and 10 points respectively.  Vaughn also grabbed 12 rebounds in the contest.  One team stat that will definitely make me happy is the Mystics had 16 assists opposed to 8 turnovers while the Liberty had 14 assists to 14 turnovers.

For the Liberty (11-23), Kelsey Bone and Toni Young scored 11 and 10 points respectively in the losing effort.  Katie Smith, who played her last game as a professional, scored 7 points.

With the Indiana Fever (16-18) losing to the Connecticut Sun (10-24) 82-80 in overtime in addition to the Mystics' win helped seal the deal where DC faces the Atlanta Dream (17-17), the second seeded team in the Eastern Conference.  The Dream owns the tiebreaker over DC by winning three out of five regular season matches.

According to the Mystics' facebook site, Game 2 of the First Round will be on Saturday, September 21 at 7:00 PM so this should give fans a prime opportunity to watch the game at Verizon Center.

I never said this all season and preseason, but I am looking forward to this playoff appearance.  I really am and I'm even getting caught up with the improved record too, despite what some previous posts may have implied.

This team is not only playing its best basketball toward the end, but Tayler Hill is starting to live up to lottery pick expectations like the "Big Three" picks before her.  If she continues this play in the postseason and can be a major contributor in this round and even help get DC to the Eastern Conference Finals (ATL has gone 7-16 since a 10-1 start), that will make me not only very happy as a fan, but Hill may actually start becoming a true core foundational piece for this team, which is definitely what I was hoping before this year began.

Update at 9:20 PM ET - Here is Coach Thibault's presser from Monumental Network.

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And here's Tayler Hill's postgame interview.

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