Cheryl Reeve said the Lynx's defense was the key to beating Washington 81-62 on Thursday at the Verizon Center.

“In the first quarter, we didn’t get the loose balls, and [Washington] turned those into baskets," Reeve was quoted as saying in a Mystics' news release. "I thought we adjusted. I thought we turned up our defense. And that’s who we are. When we defend and we rebound and we go the other way, we’re pretty good.

" We really focused on the game plan. We really focused on who we wanted to be defensively. We were really confident as a team.”

The Mystics committed 17 turnovers; Maya Moore of the Lynx alone had four steals.

The victory came two nights after the Lynx lost by 29 points at Connecticut.

“You can’t hang your head," Reeve said. "For us, that was the first time all year that we didn’t show up for a game, so it was a little bit surprising for us. We didn’t like the way it felt and we made sure it didn’t happen again.

"We’re tired. Every team in the WNBA right now is tired. We’ve been on the road. I don’t practice the day in between games on the road, but we called a practice yesterday. Every single one of them embraced being there. They gave everything they had. I told them that that’s the sign of a great team, that you want to practice and you want to do well in practice. And that carried over into the game."

Point guard Lindsay Whalen, who had 20 points against the Sun, had another strong game for the Lynx on the road. She had 11 points -- on five for seven shooting -- and seven assists.

“They were playing us tough," Whalen said. "I know they’re in every game and playing competitive. They have so many good players. I though after the first quarter we started putting some things together. We got stops on defense and then we were able to push the ball and get some fast break points and I think that’s what turned the tide.”

Crystal Langhorne, the Mystics leading scorer, was held to 11 points which is eight under her average and five rebounds.

“They just outplayed us tonight," Langhorne said, referring to the Lynx, "hustle plays, offensive rebounds, on defense they were better on offense they were better and they beat us by 20.

“We tried to change it up on them. We tried to go zone, tried to go man, they did a great job against it, we just weren’t aggressive defensively.”

What is even worst for the Mystics is that the Lynx have their first round pick in the 2012 draft. It will be one of the top four picks in the draft because the Mystics are not going to make the playoffs. They are last in the East with five wins total.

For that pick, the Lynx traded three-year starting center Nicky Anosike to the Mystics. Anosike had eight points -- her average -- and three rebounds against her old team. Kelly Miller, another former Lynx, had three points and four assists.

So the two ex-Lynx players did not give the visitors much trouble.

STATS TIDBITS

* This was the Lynx's 19th victory, tying the franchise record for victories in a single season set in 2003 -- when they won a playoff game -- and setting a record for wins in the regular season.

* The team's nine road wins increased another franchise record.

* The Lynx have won 12 games by 10 or more points. Their point differential per game is a league-best plus 7.5 points.

* The Lynx shot 57.1 percent from the field, tying the second best percentage in franchise history. ... The five starters were 29 of 45 or 64.4 percent.

* Lynx opponents have scored below 70 points in 11 games this season.

* The Lynx outscored the Mystics 17-8 on fast break points, meaning their league-leading average of 14.7 points per game in transition will climb a bit.

* The Lynx had a 19-13 edge in second-chance points, too. They came into this game second in that category, averaging 13 points, second-most in the league.