Mystics 78

(16-14, 5-10 away)

Storm 86

(16-14, 8-8 home)

    10:00 PM ET, August 3, 2006

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 20 21 18 1978
    SEA 22 18 23 2386

    Top Performers

    Washington: D. Milton-Jones 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    Seattle: L. Jackson 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    Storm beat Mystics in battle of fourth seeds

    SEATTLE (AP) -- With her team struggling and in the midst of a playoff race, Seattle coach Anne Donovan knew her team had to beat Washington.

    In a contest featuring the No. 4 seeds in the Eastern and Western conferences, the Storm shot 70 percent in the third period and Lauren Jackson scored 27 points to help Seattle pull away with an 86-78 win over the Washington Mystics on Thursday night.

    Seattle snapped a four-game home losing streak and ended the Mystics' four-game winning streak.

    "I think we're finally getting to be where we need to be," Donovan said.

    Seattle (16-14), 2½ games ahead of Phoenix, is a half-game behind Houston for third place in the West. Washington (16-14) already has clinched the fourth seed in the East.

    "I think tonight can be a wake-up call for our team to get the right mentality going into the playoffs," said Mystic forward Delisha Milton-Jones, who had 19 points.

    With a playoff atmosphere from the opening tip, Key Arena was an intimidating environment for even an NBA-coaching veteran.

    "I've got a triple headache right now," Washington coach Richie Adubato said. "I've played here a lot but I've never heard them that loud."

    The 6-foot-5 Jackson, the league's top shooter at 53.8 percent, was 7-for-12 from the field while constantly drawing double and triple teams. She was also 13-for-13 from the free-throw line to extend her streak of consecutive free throws to 29.

    "Jackson was unstoppable inside," Adubato said.

    Iziane Castro Marques scored 22 points -- 11 in the fourth quarter -- and was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers.

    "Izzy has been playing awesome for us. She's so good," Jackson said. "When she just goes out there and plays, she's unstoppable."

    Janell Burse added 18 points -- 11 in the third quarter when Jackson was resting due to her ongoing plantar fasciatis and shin issues.

    "I played Lauren a little too much in the first half -- which caused her to sit down quite a bit in that third quarter," Donovan said. "JB's timing on that was perfect."

    "She's a terrific player and she's gotten better and better every year," said Adubato about Burse.

    Storm point guard Sue Bird had 13 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

    Alana Beard led Washington with 23 points before fouling out with six turnovers.

    The Storm led 12-1 but didn't make a field goal for almost 5 minutes as the Mystics cut the deficit to one point early in the second quarter. After going 4 minutes without a field goal, Washington scored 12 points in the final 2:11 of the first half to take a 41-40 lead.

    Castro Marques' 3-pointer gave Seattle a 44-43 lead -- which it never lost. The Storm extended their lead to 66-59 on another Castro Marques 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.

    The Mystics came within one twice in the fourth, including 72-71 on a pair of Beard free throws.

    Bird's 18-footer in the right corner over Beard made it 74-71 with 2½ minutes to go and the Mystics never got closer.

    "I thought at the end of the game, we could have gotten a break here or there and it would've been very close," Adubato said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Washington Seattle
    Points 78 86
    FG Made-Attempted 28-65 (.000) 25-51 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-17 (.353) 4-10 (.400)
    FT Made-Attempted 16-20 (.000) 32-38 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-24 4-25
    Assists 14 20
    Turnovers 21 13
    Steals 6 12
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 11 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 21 (1/0)