Lynx Rally Falls Short in D.C.

Washington, D.C. - Crystal Langhorne poured in a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Mystics used a 33-16 third-quarter advantage to hold off the Lynx in Washington Sunday afternoon, 81-75.

Five early points from Roneeka Hodges helped the Lynx claim a 7-2 advantage in the opening minutes. Minnesota hung on to a slim lead for much of the first quarter, and a Tasha Humphrey 3-pointer in the closing seconds gave the Lynx a 19-16 lead after one.

A Mystics 12-3 run to open the second stanza gave the Mystics a 28-22 lead, but Minnesota answered with a 12-3 run of their own, spurred by a Renee Montgomery three and a Nicky Anosike and-one. A Nicky Anosike layup off of a beautifully drawn up play by the coaching staff gave Minnesota a 38-34 lead after two. Hodges paced Minnesota with 10 points at the break.

The Mystics took over in the third, opening the half on a 19-6 run to open their largest lead of the game at nine points, 53-44. Washington opened it up from there, widening its lead to 13 points, 67-54 at the break. For the quarter, Washington shot 14-of-20 from the floor, to the Lynx' 3-of-14.

The lead swelled to 16 points on a three-pointer from Lindsey Harding before the Lynx began to climb back in the fourth. A 14-2 Lynx run, highlighted by six points from Charde Houston, brought the Lynx within four, at 74-70 with just over two minutes to play. A Harding miracle fling at the shot-clock buzzer made it 76-70, and two Candice Wiggins free-throws brought it back within four at 76-72 with 47.8 seconds remaining. That was as close as the Lynx got, as Matee Ajavon went 5-of-6 at the line to seal the six-point, 81-75 win for the Mystics.

In addition to Langhorne's 18 points, Washington had five other players in double figures, including Alana Beard with 13. Houston paced Minnesota's efforts with a game-high 20 points. Hodges added 19, and Anosike chipped in with 13. For the game, the Mystics shot 45.2% (28-of-62) to Minnesota's 41.9% (26-of-62). Washington out-rebounded Minnesota 35-23, including 12-5 on the offensive glass.

With the loss, the Lynx fall back into a tie with Tuesday's opponent, San Antonio for the last and final Western Conference playoff spot. Washington improved to 13-15, and sit just .5 games back Connecticut and Chicago a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Minnesota - Charde Houston, 20
Washington - Crystal Langhorne, 18

Minnesota - Nicky Anosike, 6
Washington - Langhorne, 10

Minnesota - Candice Wiggins, 4
Washington - Lindsey Harding, 5

Highlight of the Night
The Lynx continue to get solid play from fifth-year veteran Roneeka Hodges. The former Florida State Seminole pitched in with 19 points Sunday afternoon, including a 3-of-7 mark from downtown. She also hauled in five rebounds and played a team-high 34:12.

- Washington guard Alana Beard injured her ankle late in the fourth quarter after it appeared that she landed on Candice Wiggins' foot after a missed shot attempt. The All-Star was carried off the court by the Mystics trainer and a teammate. Wiggins was called for a foul on the play.

- The foul resulted in the Lynx getting to chose who shot the free-throws, due to Beard not being able to continue in the game. The Lynx chose Chasity Melvin who came into Sunday's game shooting 54.8% from the line. She missed two.

- The Lynx out-scored Washington in three of the four quarters Sunday, but it was the 33-16 third quarter advantage by the Mystics that made the difference.

- After the game, Washington auctioned off its pink jerseys at a live auction, held on center court.

- Many Lynx players had family and friends at the Sunday afternoon contest, including Quanitra Hollingsworth, Rashanda McCants and Renee Montgomery.

- Candice Wiggins met with around 40 Stanford alumni after the game.

Lynx head coach Jen Gillom
On tonight's performance:
"It's something we've been struggling with all season. We play two or three grat quarters and sometime we just miss the fourth quarter. I don't know if it's the youth of this team that sometimes when the pressure gets on they just don't know how to hold on. Some quarters they look like they're a championship team and there's moments when the pressure gets on and it's hard and tough on them."

More on tonight's performance:
"It's tough when you don't have that "go-to" player like Seimone Augustus to get you out of situations. We have a lot of young players that you have to depend on but they're growing and they're going to learn from this and I'm hoping we'll learn sooner than later before these playoffs. That's what I'm just waiting on; these young players to just break out of those pressure situations."

Lynx guard/forward Roneeka Hodges
On the importance of tonight's game:
"We're trying to win. That's just all it comes down to. It's the last stretch of the season, we have maybe four or five games left and there's not really much that you can make up at this point in the season. We just need to win."

On not being able to close out the game:
"That's been a problem. That's been a thing that we've been dealing with all season is finishing a game and I think that tonight we didn't do that. I think we were in the game and we fought real hard, but in the end we just couldn't close it out."
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