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Jackson returns, but Storm lose second straight, fall to Mystics 80-71

Monique Currie made five three-pointers and scored 25 points, and the Washington Mystics clinched a playoff spot when they beat Seattle 80-71 Sunday and Connecticut lost later in the day.

Two-time league MVP Lauren Jackson, who missed the Storm's game on Friday with back spasms, scored 14 points in 25 minutes. Swin Cash led the Storm (25-6) with 15 points. The loss was the Storm's second straight, matching a season high, but they have clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Sue Bird was 4 of 4 from beyond the arc and finished with 12 points.

With the win, the Mystics (19-12) moved out of a virtual third-place tie with Atlanta and within a half-game of second place New York. The Mystics earned consecutive playoff berths for the first time in team history and set a franchise record for wins.

"It's great," Langhorne said, before learning that the Mystics had definitely clinched a spot. "We've been playing really hard. To just have that happen, I think its showing steps this franchise is making."

With the Mystics trailing 43-38 and 6:11 remaining in the third quarter, Currie started a 21-10 run over the remainder of the quarter with a 3-pointer. After Crystal Langhorne's layup tied the score, Currie connected on her fourth from beyond the arc to give the Mystics their first lead since the first quarter at 46-43.

"It seemed like they were able to really drive, draw us in and kick to their three-point shooters," Bird said. They were knocking down shots. Sometimes it just comes down to that."

They never trailed again and Currie's final 3-pointer put the Mystics up 68-61 with 5:34 left in the game. They led by nine points and were up 74-66 with 2:58 remaining when Seattle's coach Brian Agler pulled Jackson and Bird.

Langhorne scored 15 points and Lindsey Harding added 13 points for the Mystics, who have won three straight and five of seven.

The Storm led 36-32 at halftime. The Mystics second-leading scorer at 13.7 points per game, Currie has averaged 24.5 in two games against the Storm this season.