|Mystics focused on second place as they travel to Indiana|
The Washington Mystics, winners of six straight games, continue their push toward a double-bye in the WNBA playoffs when they square off against the dangerous Indiana Fever on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
The Mystics (20-11) head to Indianapolis after a 93-80 home win over Dallas on Sunday. With the victory, Washington reached the 20-win mark for just the second time in franchise history; the last time it did so was in 2010.
Rookie Ariel Atkins led the Mystics with a career-high 26 points in the win, including 14 in the second half, before leaving the game midway through the fourth quarter with a hip injury. Her status for Wednesday's game will be a game-time decision.
Elena Delle Donne added 23 points and Kristi Toliver added 17 more against the Wings.
Washington, a game and a half in back of Atlanta for second place in the league standings, can't afford to slip up against the hapless Fever (5-26), the league's worst team.
"It's the coveted spot," Washington forward Monique Currie said of the chase for the double-bye. "That's the goal right now. That's all we're focused on, trying to get that No. 2 spot."
After playing at Indiana, the Mystics face Los Angeles at home on Aug. 17 and defending champion Minnesota on closing night Aug. 19 in the Twin Cities. With those tough games looming, Washington needs to win Wednesday just to assure itself of a first-round bye.
Indiana, which was the first team eliminated from the playoffs this season, heads home after a 92-74 loss at Las Vegas on Saturday in which the Fever never led. Indiana lost its third straight since winning two games in a row for the first time all year two weeks hence.
The Fever was led by Erica Wheeler's 13 points and 11 apiece from reserves Kelsey Mitchell and Tiffany Mitchell in the loss. Wheeler and Tiffany Mitchell each had three 3-point baskets and led the Fever with five assists. Tiffany Mitchell was perfect from beyond the arc and gathered a team-high eight rebounds.
"This was the second straight game that we've gotten off to a slow start," said Fever coach Pokey Chatman, referring to Indiana's loss in Phoenix 24 hours earlier. "We gave Las Vegas 11 points in the game's first three minutes. We let them get too comfortable early on."
Indiana made a season-high 10 3-point field goals overall and shot 46 percent from long distance, but the Fever's 36 percent shooting overall was not enough to keep pace and offset Las Vegas' 48-33 edge on the glass.
The Fever's Kelsey Mitchell and Victoria Vivians continued to add to their run as the most prolific rookie 3-point shooting duo in WNBA history in the loss. They are the first rookie pair on the same team to both make more than 60 3-point field goals in a season.
Mitchell (66 for the season) hit both her treys in the first half to move into third place on the all-time chart for rookie 3-pointers, trailing only Tamika Catchings and Crystal Robinson, who share the league's rookie record with 76.
Vivians (61) made two on Saturday and is sixth on the list.
"It's really cool to be a part of that record," Kelsey Mitchell said. "Viv can shoot the lights out of the ball, and we have been good at making the 3s when we've had them."
The two teams haven't played each other since May, with the Mystics beating Indiana twice in a four-day period, first in Washington 82-75 on May 20 and then in Indianapolis 93-84 on May 24.