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Langhorne, Mystics handle Mercury

WASHINGTON (AP) — Crystal Langhorne scored a career-high 31 points and added 10 rebounds and the Washington Mystics won their fourth straight home game with a 95-85 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.

Lindsey Harding added 24 points for the Mystics (9-5), who have won five of their past six.

Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 18 points, but she did not play in the fourth quarter after falling hard on her back with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.

She was able to walk off the court and returned briefly, but the WNBA's leading scorer said she was unable to run after suffering a bruised back. Her status is considered day to day.

"I got up in the air and — I don't really know what happened — but I landed on my back pretty hard," Taurasi said.

Even with Taurasi, the Mercury struggled to stop Langhorne, who made 13 of 18 shots from the field, five of six from the line, grabbed four offensive rebounds and had three steals.

"Things have really been going my way," said Langhorne, who has averaged 27.6 points and 13 rebounds in her past three games. "I've been able to get the ball in really good positions. I haven't been getting double-teamed. I've just been really lucky right now."

Langhorne, who set her previous career high with 27 points Thursday against the Los Angeles Sparks, should not expect to see single-coverage against her for much longer, since the Mystics have other options to win games.

Harding also thrived against a Mercury defense that entered the game allowing a league-high 91.7 points, connecting on 9 of 12 shots.

Nakia Sanford scored 12 points and Monique Currie finished with 10 points as the Mystics shot 54.4 percent from the field and won for the fifth time in their past six games.

"I think we're pleased with tonight's game," Currie said. "Now we still have a long way to go as a team to be at a point where we are the best in the East which is where we want to be."

Led by 16 first-half points from Langhorne, the Mystics held a 49-38 lead at halftime, but saw that edge trimmed to three early in the third quarter. Up 69-64 entering the fourth, Washington opened the quarter with a 9-2 run to pull away.

Ahead 74-66 with less than nine minutes remaining, Langhorne took control as she scored 13 of the Mystics' next 15 points. She hit six of seven shots in the quarter and her final basket gave the Mystics a 89-77 lead with 3:51 remaining.

"I can't imagine her playing any better the next game and then she does. I think she's really on a mission," Mystics coach Julie Plank said.

"She did it in college. To people who followed her career I don't think it's much of a surprise," said Taurasi of Langhorne. "She has really good footwork and can finish with either hand. She is playing phenomenal right now."

Without Taurasi and second-leading scorer Penny Taylor, who was held to seven points and fouled out with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter, the Mercury (5-9) could not get the win.

"The third quarter we starting clicking a little bit, but that's not going to be enough, especially on the road against a pretty good team," Taurasi said, who hit two 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the third quarter.

DeWanna Bonner scored 16 points and Candice Dupree added 14 for the Mercury, who have lost four straight overall and five in a row on the road.