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WNBA: Breanna Stewart, Storm clinch playoff berth

Breanna Stewart made four free throws in the final 12 seconds and finished with 18 points to lead the Seattle Storm to an 82-77 Saturday and clinch a berth in the WNBA playoffs. The Storm used a big second-half run to reach their goal.

Seattle (19-11), which had lost three of its previous four games, took sole possession of the fourth seed in the league standings. Tina Charles scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

The Storm is a game ahead of the fifth-place Mystics and 1 1/2 games behind No. 3 Connecticut with about two weeks before the postseason begins. Seattle took a 70-55 lead early in the fourth quarter behind a 16-0 spurt.

However, the Mystics scored 14 of the next 18 points to trim its deficit to five points with 2 minutes left after Ariel Atkins hit a 3 and Alysha Clark made another 3-pointer to pull within a point with 26.3 seconds remaining.

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Seattle called timeout and Talbot threw away the ensuing inbounds pass but Ezi Magbegor forced Washington’s Elena Delle Donne into a tough shot with 14.9 seconds to go. Stewart grabbed the offensive rebound and the Storm held on to the win.

Delle Donne led the Mystics with 22 points and Atkins scored 13. Shakira Austin added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Natasha Cloud also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.

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