WNBA preview: Washington Mystics at Indiana Fever

Mystics at Indiana Fever

Records: Mystics 14-15, Fever 13-16

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

When: 7 p.m.

Data: The Mystics head into the final five games of the regular season with a slight advantage in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Washington is in second place, one game clear of the Fever and the Chicago Sky and a game and a half in front of the fifth-place New York Liberty.

A victory over the Fever would even the regular season series 2-2 and go a long way toward securing home-court advantage for Washington in the best-of-three conference semifinals. The Mystics have an outside chance at the No. 1 seed, but that scenario would require an improbable collapse from the first-place Atlanta Dream, which is the only team in the East to have clinched a postseason berth.

In the teams’ most recent game, Washington lost to the Fever, 80-77, July 2 at Verizon Center. The Mystics are coming off a 79-46 thumping of visiting New York on Tuesday night, their most lopsided victory of the season. Point guard Ivory Latta led Washington with a game-high 16 points.

Mystics guard Tayler Hill, the No. 4 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft, made her season debut against the Liberty. Hill missed the first 28 games while pregnant and giving birth six weeks ago. Coach Mike Thibault also is working reserve forward Jelena Milovanovic back into the rotation after the Serbian rookie missed 13 games with a strained knee.

The Fever has lost 3 of 4, all against opponents from the Western Conference, but is 2-2 against the East since getting back forward Tamika Catchings from a sore back. Catchings is the WNBA’s active leader in career scoring, rebounding, steals and free throws.

— Gene Wang

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