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Storm Face Another Playoff Contender With Starters Expected To Rest

Once again, the Seattle Storm face an Eastern Conference playoff contender on the road while probably looking to rest their own starters after suffering their worst loss of the season on Friday against the Connecticut Sun.

STORM: Insider Preview - Storm vs. Washington
Friday's 20-point loss in Connecticut was the worst of the season by the Storm, which had not previously lost by double-figures. The game got away from the Storm early, with the Sun shooting the lights out from midrange and long distance in the first half. With the Storm down 19 at halftime, there was no reason to go back to the starters in the second half, and younger players performed much better in the second half.

Head Coach Brian Agler will likely take a similar approach to this game, seeing whether the reserves can keep the Storm close until halftime - a task they performed with aplomb at Atlanta, leading at the break - before coming back with the veterans down the stretch. The first unit may not include Lauren Jackson, who experienced back tightness before Friday's game and sat out as a precautionary measure. With nothing on the line, the Storm won't push Jackson.

Nevertheless, the surprising 18-12 Washington Mystics who have fought their way into the playoff picture despite losing All-Star guard Alana Beard to season-ending surgery prior to the season. So don't expect them to suddenly have a let down just because they're facing an opponent whose playoff fate is already sealed.

Mystics Sneak Past Lynx, Prepare for Impending Storm - Swish Appeal
one might wonder how the Mystics hope to prepare for their game Sunday against the league’s best team, the Seattle Storm. The Storm, who suffered their most lopsided loss of the season to none other than the Connecticut Sun on Friday, rested their starters after the first period. Superstar Lauren Jackson sat out and likely wont play much in Washington on Sunday.

It would appear that the Storm are looking to coast into the playoffs without regard for their record, and this could benefit the Mystics who sit in a tight race in the East. Still, the Mystics have to bring their ‘A’ game. Monique Currie isn’t convinced that the Storm will give this one away so easily; "Seattle is obviously the best team in the league. They’re already in the playoffs. But I doubt that they wanna go into the playoffs on a losing streak so they’re gonna come in here and play and we just have to take care of our home court and find a way to win like we did tonight." And how might they do that? Well for one, Coach Plank said, "We need to bring our depth. I mean they will play a lot of people…they’ve only lost four games for a reason."

The Mystics have had many players step up in Beard's absence, but one of those players is point guard Lindsey Harding, one of the current regime's first acquisitions.

Harding has become steadying force for Mystics
The Mystics (18-12) have won five of their past seven contests as they've sought to clinch a second consecutive berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs. One constant in each of the victories has been Harding. Whether it was games with at least five assists (against Connecticut and Atlanta) or a 33-point explosion (against Indiana), Harding provided the statistical assistance and the steady influence her team needs.

"At this point, the push for the playoffs is not new territory for me," Harding said. "This is something I'm used to now and have come to expect."

The game is available online at WNBA LiveAccess and SBN's Swish Appeal will have a game thread from DC.