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Mystics vs. Liberty Game 3 final score: New York eliminates Washington, 79-74

The game featured five lead changes in the fourth quarter, but the Mystics couldn't pull it together when it mattered most.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Liberty won at home 79-74, and have eliminated the Washington Mystics from the playoffs.

The first two quarters were night and day, with the Mystics rushing out to a 25-15 lead. Then New York tightened up the defense and some bad offensive habits returned for the Mystics.

The ‘Stics were determind to not to let the Liberty have a repeat of Sunday’s hot third quarter, however, and they clawed their way back. The fourth quarter featured five lead changes.

Epiphanny Prince (who had been having a terrible game thus far) corralled an errant pass from Tina Charles and hit a fadeaway jumper, and the Mystics found themselves down 74-77 with 20 seconds to go. Kiah Stokes switched on to Ivory Latta, and Latta tried to take her one-on-one. Stokes blocked Latta’s three, and Sugar Rogers sealed the deal for New York with a pair of free throws.

The Mystics have won a playoff series just once since the start of the franchise. While we’ve praised the Mystics' ability to play better than the sum of their parts this season, the New York defense stifled them in the final minutes of this game, leading to turnovers and desperation shots when the Mystics badly needed a bucket to stay in the game.

Top performers for the Mystics were Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 17 points, four assists and four steals, and Ivory Latta with 18 points and 7 assists.

Should we consider the season a failure? There is an argument to be made that the current squad is close to its ceiling. But on the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t read too much into a game this close.

Stay tuned for more thorough analysis of the 2015 season, the playoffs, and where the Mystics should go from here in the coming days.