Monique Currie scored 17 points, Matee Ajavon had 16 in her first start of the season and the Washington Mystics continued their playoff push with a 78-67 victory over the Seattle Storm on Thursday night.

Crystal Langhorne had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Marissa Coleman scored 14 points for the Mystics (15-15), who won their second straight and inched into third place in the tightly contested Eastern Conference.

Currie scored 10 points as Washington pulled away with a dominant fourth quarter. Ajavon started in place of All-Star guard Alana Beard, who missed her first game of the season after spraining her left ankle late in the win against Minnesota on Sunday.

Sue Bird scored 17 points and Tanisha Wright added 13 for the Storm (19-12), who played without Lauren Jackson for the third straight game and had their season-high six-game winning streak end.

Tied at 57 early in the fourth quarter, Currie hit two free throws to give Washington the lead for good and they outscored the Storm 23-14 in the final quarter.

Nakia Sanford had 10 points to give the Mystics five double-digit scorers.

With the win and only four games remaining on their schedule,

The Mystics are one of five teams separated by 2 1/2 games and playing for three spots behind top-seeded Indiana. Washington is one game behind second-place Atlanta, and leads fourth-place Detroit by a half-game. Chicago is one-half game behind the Shock, with Connecticut another half-game back.

Swin Cash scored 12 points for the Storm, who have already clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference and dropped two games behind first-place Phoenix.

Jackson, Seattle's leading scorer and rebounder, is sidelined with a stress fracture in her back. She did not travel with the team on its three-game trip that ends Saturday in Minnesota, and there is no timetable for her return.