The Washington Mystics have struggled to find consistency on the defensive end this season. Today was one of the instances in which they were lacking in that area. The Atlanta Dream came to town and made them pay for it. The Mystics got off to a quick start, but Atlanta would respond and run away with a 106-89 win. This was the first time in Atlanta’s franchise history that four players finished with 20 plus points in the same game. Just the second time in WNBA History and the first to happen in a game that finished in regulation. The last time this occurred was during an overtime game between Phoenix and Minnesota in 2010. The Dream shot a blistering 60% from the floor as a team, 61% from beyond the arc. Atlanta also held a defensive clinic on the other end, beating Washington at basically their own game. Their stops allowed them to get out and run, in the halfcourt they moved the ball well and knocked down open and sometimes contested shots.
Leading the way for Atlanta was Angel McCoughtry scored 24 points and Jessica Breland had a season-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes added 21 points a piece, the two guards would combine to knock down nine of their 13 three point attempts. Natasha Cloud led the Mystics (12-8) with 17 points and Elena Delle Donne added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Kristi Toliver recorded the 1000th assist of her career when she found Delle Donne for a basket in the first quarter. Washington started the game with a 12-4 run, but they would still end up losing that quarter when Alex Bentley hit a contested fadeaway at the buzzer to give the Dream a two point lead.
The Mystics fought back several times, but their inability to gain any traction on the defensive end kept them from doing so. They cut the deficit to single digits a few times, but on every occasion Atlanta would respond with a flurry of their own to keep the margin between 12-15 points. Washington cut the deficit to seven near the start of the fourth period, but Angel went on a personal 6-0 run to keep her team in control.
It was a dominant showing from the Dream, showing just how good they can be when they’re clicking. Their size on the perimeter, coupled with their athleticism allowed them to really disrupt Washington’s offense. On the offensive end, they kept the ball moving (31 assists) and took advantages of matchups that worked in their favor.
Washington doesn’t have long to get over this outcome, they host Chicago Friday night at 7pm. There’s not a lot of room for error for most team in the standings, the Mystics loss dropped them to fifth place in the league standings. They are still first in the East, but their lead over the now second place Atlanta Dream is just 1.5 games. The Mystics are now on a two game slide, one they cant afford to continue.