Mystics-Dream Preview

The Associated Press

The way the Atlanta Dream started the season, they looked like they would cruise to the Eastern Conference title.

A loss Wednesday night would bring them closer to dropping to the third seed.

The third-place Washington Mystics look to close the gap by going for a second straight win over the struggling Dream.

With 10 losses in 14 games, Atlanta's 10-1 start is a distant memory. The Dream looked especially bad in a 67-56 loss to Chicago on Saturday, matching the lowest point total in team history and setting the mark for their lowest field-goal percentage at 28.6 percent.

"I think with our shooting, basically we've just got to get more quality shots,'' coach Fred Williams said.

Angel McCoughtry was 6 of 26 for a team-high 20 points and had seven of Atlanta's 22 turnovers. Williams said fatigue was a factor for the Dream, who lost 74-64 at Washington the night before.

Atlanta, however, didn't look particularly sharp in that game either. It shot 36.2 percent and was 4 of 15 in the fourth quarter while being outscored 24-13.

"It was our defense that won the game," the Mystics' Monique Currie said.

Washington (13-15), which hasn't played since, forced Atlanta to put up 18 3-pointers and the Dream made only one. Atlanta is the worst shooting team in the league from beyond the arc at 25.3 percent.

"They're a really good team, but you can get them to make mistakes and that's what we did," Currie said. "We made them take a lot of outside shots, which isn't their strong point."

The victory helped restore the confidence of the Mystics, who had lost their previous eight to the Dream - including the first three this season by an average of 13.0 points. Washington can pull within 1 1/2 games of second place with another victory.

"It was a huge win for us but right now we're still focusing, we have to play Atlanta again," Crystal Langhorne said.

Currie led the Mystics with 15 points Friday and Ivory Latta scored 10 of her 14 in the fourth quarter.

McCoughtry had 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but shot 6 of 20. She leads the league with 21.9 points per game but has made 28.1 percent from the field in her last three contests while missing all 11 3-point attempts.

Dream guard Tiffany Hayes had totaled 56 points in a three-game stretch before being held out Saturday with a sore left knee. Her status against the Mystics is uncertain.

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