Fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the Washington Mystics rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Silver Stars, 84-73, last night in San Antonio.

Alana Beard scored 22 points as the Mystics (16-16) moved into a second-place tie with Charlotte in the Eastern Conference. It was Washington's fourth straight win.

"It was a good win for our team," Mystics Coach Michael Adams said. "Beard stepped it up for us tonight. She blocked shots, had some great assists and even a steal. She's making us a better team."

Nakia Sanford added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, and Coco Miller scored all 15 of her points in the second half to key a comeback.

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Mystics are one game behind first-place Connecticut. The top four teams in each conference make the playoffs, and all six teams in the East are still in contention.

"The win feels great," Beard said. "As far as my team goes, I have complete confidence in our team. We all love and respect each other and that just makes us a better team."

Adrienne Goodson and LaToya Thomas each had 20 points for the Silver Stars (8-25), who have lost 11 of 13. San Antonio was outscored 53-34 in the second half after leading 39-31 at the break.

"We can't let them score 53 points in a half," San Antonio Coach Shell Dailey said. "We didn't do a good job on defense in the second half. You have to give it to them, they made a strong push."

Goodson hit a jumper to give San Antonio a 66-65 lead with 5 minutes 23 seconds left. Washington closed the game on a 19-7 run.

The Mystics took the lead for good at 67-66 on a jumper by Miller with 5:05 to play. A three-point play by Beard with 1:13 remaining made it 77-68.

San Antonio got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.

"They are fighting for a playoff spot and we were in the way," said Thomas, who had 13 first-half points. "They came out in the second half hot. They're a great team. They didn't miss shots."

Washington connected on 16 of 33 shots after intermission.

The Mystics play on the road at Phoenix on Friday and close the season at New York on Sunday.

WNBA Note: The league has fined Tina Thompson of the Houston Comets $500 for pushing the Mystics' Stacey Dales-Schuman to the floor during Washington's 75-63 victory Sunday.

About two minutes into the second half, Thompson shoved Dales-Schuman after the two got tangled up while battling for position under the basket. Players moved quickly to separate the two and play continued. Neither player was assessed a technical foul nor ejected.

* SUN 81, STING 67: Visiting Connecticut clinched a playoff spot for the second straight season behind Nykesha Sales's season-high 28 points.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Sun (17-15), which moved into sole possession of first place in the tightly bunched Eastern Conference.

"We're in the playoffs now, but we want to finish first in the conference to get home-court advantage," Sales said. "Before the [Olympic] break we weren't playing that well."

Tammy Sutton-Brown tied a career high with 22 points, and Allison Feaster and Tynesha Lewis added 15 apiece for Charlotte. The Sun, which holds the tiebreaker edge over every other team in the East, shot 53 percent in its fourth straight win. Connecticut owns the best conference record (13-5).

* STORM 73, MERCURY 58: Lauren Jackson had 25 points, and Sue Bird added eight points and eight assists as host Seattle clinched second place in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Storm trailed Phoenix 30-27 at halftime. Diana Taurasi had 20 points for Phoenix.