Storm beat Mystics 82-77, both clinch WNBA playoff berths

WASHINGTON (AP) — Breanna Stewart made four free throws in the final 12 seconds and finished with 18 points, Tina Charles scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Seattle used a big second-half run to beat the Washington Mystics 82-77 Saturday and clinch a berth in the WNBA playoffs.

Seattle (19-11), which had lost three of its previous four games, took sole possession of fourth in the league standings — a game ahead of the fifth-place Mystics and 1 1/2 games behind No. 3 Connecticut with about two weeks before the postseason begins.

Seattle built a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter before Washington got within one on Alysha Clark’s 3-pointer with 26.3 seconds left.

After an inadvertent whistle by an official, Seattle called timeout and Talbot threw away the ensuing inbounds pass but Ezi Magbegor forced Washington’s Elena Delle Donne into a tough shot with 14.9 seconds to go. Stewart grabbed the rebound and the Storm held on.

Washington (18-12) had won three games in a row and five of its last 6.

Delle Donne led the Mystics with 22 points and Atkins scored 13.

The Mystics clinched a playoff berth later Saturday when the Atlanta Dream lost 81-68 to the Dallas Wings. Washington failed to reach postseason play in 2021 for just the second time since coach Mike Thibault took over in 2013.

WINGS 81, DREAM 68

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Kayla Thornton scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, Teaira McCowan added 14 points and 14 rebounds and Dallas beat Atlanta to avoid a season series sweep by the Dream.

Arike Ogunbowale added 21 points, eight assists and five steals for the Wings.

Dallas (13-16) moved into a tie with the Phoenix Mercury for sixth in the WNBA standings with about two weeks left in the regular season. Atlanta (12-18), among six teams battling for the final three playoff spots, is ninth, a game behind the Los Angeles Sparks (12-16) for the eighth and final postseason berth and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Minnesota Lynx (11-19).

Rhyne Howard led Atlanta with 22 points, all in the first three quarters. Aari McDonald scored 13 points and Cheyenne Parker 12. Tiffany Hayes left the game after an apparent ankle injury early in the second quarter and did not return for the depleted Dream.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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