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Hill Leads Mystics To 70-52 Win Over Liberty

Washington Never Trailed Beyond The First Quarter
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Tayler Hill scored a career-high-tying 16 points to help the Washington Mystics beat the New York Liberty 70-52 on Sunday and clinch the third playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

Kia Vaughn scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her second-straight double-double and her third of the season to help the Mystics split their four-game season series with New York

Ivory Latta added 12 points for Washington (17-17), which closed its season with three straight victories to finish a game ahead of fourth-place Indiana entering their first playoffs since 2010.

The Mystics will face second-seeded Atlanta in a three-game conference semifinal series. Washington split four games with the Dream during the regular season but lost four of five to top-seeded Chicago, which will now face Indiana in the other East semifinal.

Kelsey Bone scored 11 points and Toni Young added 10 for New York (11-23) in the final game for retiring teammate and seven-time WNBA All-Star Katie Smith.

The 39-year-old Smith had seven points and one 3-pointer in her final game. She finishes her career as the league’s second all-time leading scorer with 6,446 points and its leading 3-point shooter with and 904 made 3s.

Washington never trailed beyond the first quarter, but led by only two in the third before Latta and Hill each hit 3-pointers in an 8-0 stretch to push the Mystics lead to 41-31.

Hill hit two more 3s during the quarter, the latter under duress from the right-wing to make it 52-42 before New York’s Alex Montgomery responded with a leaner to close the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Vaughn hit two inside baskets and a pair of foul shots to help the Mystics close the game on a 14-4.

Smith left the game with 36 seconds left to a standing ovation from both the home crowd and a large contingent of New York fans, who chanted “Ka-tie, Ka-tie” in the game’s final moments. Smith spent her 2010 season in Washington, the last time the Mystics qualified for the postseason.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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