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Mystics ride balanced attack to 86-62 win over Wings

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Albert Lee

The Mystics improved to 4-1 on the season with an 86-62 victory over the winless Dallas Wings on Sunday afternoon.

The Wings did everything they could to make players other than Elena Delle Donne (14 points, 5-of-16 shooting) and Ariel Atkins (0 points, 0-of-7 shooting) beat them, and it worked for most of the first half. They took a five-point lead midway through the second quarter until the Mystics’ bench got going. Former Wing Aerial Powers scored 18 points in under 15 minutes and Tianna Hawkins added 21 points and 6 rebounds as the Mystics’ bench outscored Dallas 43-22 to help Washington take the lead before halftime and pull away in the second half.

And in the second half, Tianna Hawkins scored a career-high 21 points while Aerial Powers scored 18 more off the bench to close things out for Washington.

The game represented the Mystics’ best defensive performance of the season. They posted an 83.8 defensive rating, which is their best mark since an 88-60 win over the Chicago Sky last June. The starters and bench both made things miserable for Dallas defensively. The Wings went 3-of-14 from deep, attempted a season-low 6 free throw attempts, and only two players reached double digits in scoring.

It was impressive tune-up before the Mystics enter a challenging four-game stretch. First, they’ll head to Connecticut for a game that will decide who takes the top spot in the East, then they’ll host Seattle in a WNBA Finals rematch, followed by a two-game road trip to face the Sparks and Aces. If they can keep perform well through that stretch, it sets them up well to improve on last season.