One day after the Seattle Storm turned an 82-77 road victory over the Washington Mystics into a spot in the WNBA playoffs, the teams will meet again in the nation’s capital.

Now the Storm can focus on getting the best possible seed for next month’s playoffs, starting with Sunday’s rematch against the Mystics.

At 19-11, Seattle stands in fourth place, one game up on Washington (18-12). The Storm is also 1 1/2 games behind third-place Connecticut with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Saturday’s win also gave the Storm the advantage in the regular-season series with the Mystics, which could be vital if a tiebreaker is needed to determine postseason seeding.

It also will be another last in the marvelous career of Seattle point guard Sue Bird, who is retiring at season’s end. It will be her last game in the nation’s capital, and while it doesn’t have the emotional cachet of her last game Thursday at Connecticut, where she played college basketball, it’s still a big deal.

“The emotion at times definitely catches up to me, but in a good way,” Bird said. “I’m still on a team that’s trying to compete for a championship so there is a balance that happens between the joy in the moment but also playing competitively and having that main focus.”

Washington needs a win to aid its hopes of earning home-court advantage for the first round of the WNBA playoffs. The league changed its playoff format this year, going away from a stair-step set-up that gave the top two seeds double byes to a conventional 1-seed vs. 8-seed, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 format.

Presently in fifth, the Mystics still can earn home-court advantage in the first round and maybe the second if things break their way.

The Mystics almost overcame a seven-point deficit in the last 90 seconds Saturday and had a chance for the lead late, but Elena Delle Donne missed a shot under duress with 15 seconds remaining and Seattle was able to finished off the victory at the line.

“We just need to control our destiny,” Washington point guard Natasha Cloud said.

–Field Level Media