|Mystics seek win over Lynx and No. 2 seed|
The good news for Minnesota is that the reigning WNBA champions will have a chance to defend their title.
The bad news: The Lynx have an uphill battle to raise the title trophy for a second straight year.
After losing to the Connecticut Sun on Friday, the Lynx are locked into the seventh playoff spot and will most likely play the Phoenix Mercury in a single-elimination playoff Tuesday.
But first, the Lynx host the Washington Mystics on Sunday at the Target Center in Minneapolis in their regular-season finale.
There's much more at stake Sunday for the Mystics, who defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 69-67 on Friday on Natasha' Cloud's buzzer-beater.
With that victory, Washington needs a win over Minnesota (17-16) and an Atlanta loss in order to claim the No. 2 seed and the double-bye into the semifinals that comes with it.
"Unfortunately, we need some help from Atlanta for that to happen but all we can do is really control what we are doing now," Washington star Elena Delle Donne said. "We did our part tonight and then we have to do it again against Minnesota."
Friday's win over the Sparks is a good indication that it's "go time" for the Mystics.
"Well, it felt like a playoff game," Washington coach Mike Thibault said. "Two teams acted like a playoff game because nobody made shots with everybody hanging all over them. It wasn't any fouls called either way. It's not a lot of turnovers. It was just a hang in there kind of game. We kept burying ourselves and we kept fighting back."
Minnesota has been fighting back throughout this roller-coaster season.
Sunday's game against the Mystics is important for the Lynx if only to help Minnesota gain some momentum heading into the postseason.
Minnesota has a little more motivation -- Sunday's game might be star guard Lindsay Whalen's final home game. The 15-year vet announced her retirement earlier this month.
Among her many accolades, Whalen won an Olympic gold medal twice, she's hoisted a WNBA title trophy four times and is the winningest player in the history of the WNBA.
"There were different times this offseason when I wondered how much more can I give," she said during her retirement announcement. "You never want to have any regrets, and I got to spend one more year with my (teammates). Throughout the season, I knew this was probably going to be it."
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Sunday as "Lindsay Whalen Day" throughout the state. Beating Washington would be the cherry on top of a memorable day.
The Mystics defeated the Lynx on May 27 in the first meeting this season. Kristi Toliver scored 19 points and Washington's bench poured in 58 points.
The Lynx came back to hand the Mystics an 88-80 loss June 7. Sylvia Fowles had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Maya Moore added 19 points as the Lynx snapped a four-game skid.