The Washington Mystics began the process of cleaning out their lockers Thursday, many leaving practice with black garbage bags full of now-unneeded items thrown over their shoulders, a step toward turning the page on a dismal 2012 season.
The Mystics will take another step toward wrapping up the season Friday when they take the court for their final home game against the Indiana Fever. Washington enters the game riding an 11-game losing streak and having dropped 17 of its past 19 games.
“We’re just playing for pride now. There’s not much we can do at this point,” Mystics guard Matee Ajavon said, garbage bag in hand. “We got two games and we’re just going to play hard and, you know, get them over with.”
Washington came close to snapping its month-long skid Sunday against New York, when the Mystics held a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter but let it slip away in a 75-68 loss to the Liberty. The Mystics allowed New York guard Cappie Pondexter 30 points and 11 rebounds in the victory. Mystics leading scorer Crystal Langhorne sat out against the Liberty with a left foot strain and again will be unavailable against Indiana.
The Fever, on the other hand, will arrive at the Verizon Center having already clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Despite being locked into its playoff spot, Indiana enters the game on a three-game losing streak of its own and will be without two starters, Briann January and Shavonte Zellous, both of whom suffered head injuries Sept. 17 against Minnesota.
With just two games remaining, the Mystics are all but assured to finish the season with the WNBA’s worst record. Washington would need to win its final two games against Indiana and Chicago and have Phoenix drop its final two in order to share the distinction of having the league’s worst record with the Mercury.
“We could still win these games. We’re not just playing to be out there. We’re playing to win,” Ajavon said. “We’re still playing for our fans here in D.C. We’re still playing for ourselves, for our coaches.”