Mystics win 75-74 thriller over Liberty, move into second place tie with New York

First, the Washington Mystics ended New York's 10-game winning streak. Then they found themselves atop the Eastern Conference, in control of their playoff destiny.

Lindsey Harding hit a go-ahead layup with 8.8 seconds left and the Washington Mystics tied New York in the Eastern Conference by beating the Liberty 75-74 Friday night.

Indiana lost later Friday night, causing a three-way tie atop the East.

Washington won the season series 3-2 over New York and holds the tiebreaker over Indiana. The Mystics can clinch homecourt in the East with a win at Atlanta, while New York can lock up at the number two seed with a win at Connecticut.

"It's crazy how the East is," said Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne. "We're just going to keep fighting. We have another game against Atlanta and we just want to take care of business on Sunday."

The Liberty (21-12) went ahead 70-69 with 2:18 left after Janel McCarville's jumper. The lead changed hands three times in the final 22.3 seconds, before ending with the Liberty's first loss since July 25.

"I guess every great run comes to an end at some point," Pondexter said. "The thing is, we fought hard today, especially in the fourth quarter. We showed a lot of grit and its something we can learn from. We're not done with what we came to do this season. We have a goal and we are going to keep trying to reach it."

Cappie Pondexter led the Liberty (21-12) with 28 points.

Matee Ajavon scored 16 points and Harding scored 14 points for the Mystics (21-12), who led 61-49 after three quarters.

Pondexter's bank shot put the Liberty up 74-73 with 12.6 seconds left, after Marissa Coleman's tip. After Harding scored, McCarville missed a jump shot and Leilani Mitchell missed a putback layup at the buzzer.

Immediately after the game, both teams were near center court when some pushing and shoving broke out. It was unclear what happened, though players on both teams were dismissive afterward. Game officials were unavailable.