The Washington Mystics were back at home, to end out their regular season against Atlanta Dream. This series has been tough one for Washington, losing three contests against Atlanta this season. The Mystics came into the game after a road trip to New York, which resulted in a win. Coming in tonight with an 18-15 record, the Mystics held the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, behind Indiana, both teams have clinched playoff berths.
Even though this was the last regular season game, both teams came out fired up and playing hard. The Mystics jumped into the lead and ran with it for the rest of the first quarter. Majority of the points came from field goals, Ivory Latta contributed five points and one assist. From the beginning Stefanie Dolson was battling with Sancho Lyttle in the paint, Dolson ended up with four points and three rebounds. The first quarter ended with the Mystics on top with a score of 13-7.
Coming out of the first quarter Atlanta picked up their tempo to match Washington’s before surpassing it. At the half the Mystics led not only in points, but rebounds and assists. The Mystics were clicking on all cylinders, which is a good thing going into the post-season. Coach Thibault has cycled players in and out of the game throughout the first half, the bench racked up 17 of the 34 points.
Just as the previous games the Mystics defense was working hard, bringing in 19 rebounds and five steals. In the second Dolson and Lyttle were both very aggressive in the paint , but Lyttle topped off the half with six boards. At the half the Mystics maintained the led with a score of 34-24.
Out of the break both teams started off slow. The Dream started to cut down the lead, with a pair of points off of turnovers. After the turnovers the Dream finally caught up to the Mystics with one minute left in the third, with the score tied at 50. Despite it being a tough quarter for the Mystics they ended it on top 52-50.
Both teams came out in the fourth, playing tough. The Mystics struggled to keep their lead, with the Dream’s suffocating defense looking for anything to capitalize off. A defense that at times proved to be too aggressive and even resulting in Reshanda Gray being ejected. Coming out of a timeout the Dream eased into the led, 66-63.
Coach Thibault would not send his starters back into the game. The Dream continued their strong play and pulled out a 73-71 win.
Despite the loss, Washington is headed to the postseason for a third consecutive year. The next opponent for the Washington is New York Liberty. The Mystics have dominated the season series with a record of 3-1, but regular ad postseason basketball are two different animals. They take the court again in New York on Friday for the first game of the playoffs.