The Washington Mystucs snapped their one-game losing streak after beating the Atlanta Dream at Entertainment and Sports Arena 70-50. The Mystics were led by a combined effort from Elena Delle Donne and Kennedy Burke, who finished the game with a combined 28 points.
Washington started the game hot on offense with 4-5 shooting thanks to a Shakira Austin turnaround jumper and three Alysha Clark scores, but one turnover and two fouls had the Mystics up just six at the first timeout.
From there, Washington made a concerted effort to look to shooters outside and Natasha Cloud rewarded her teammates’ playmaking with a bucket outside — a step-back, deep three-pointer — plus an assist to Austin at the top of the key for a wide open mid-range jumper. After, Burke hit a three-pointer to give Washington a 19-10 lead.
Myisha Hines-Allen replaced Delle-Donne at the 4:42 mark. Burke and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough checked in a few minutes later. While the bench failed to score at first, the defense continued to dominate with fresh legs as Hines-Allen grabbed a rebound and registered a steal.
Coming out of the quarter, Atlanta’s Naz Hillmon made a step-through basket down low. The Dream came back off Nia Coffey’s made free throw attempts, cutting the Washington lead to 21-17.
Four minutes into the quarter, Coffey picked up her first field goal, and the lead was cut to 21-19.
From there, Erica Wheeler began to find her stroke in the latter part of the first half, connecting on a floater. After a 8-0 Atlanta run, Hillmon connected on a smooth, silky finger roll to put Atlanta up 23-21 with 4:28 remaining in the first half.
Coming off the 10-0 Atlanta Dream run, Ariel Atkins converted on a three-pointer only for Delle Donne to score five consecutive points in less than two minutes. Austin also got in on the action by making her third shot of the game, with Washington leading 31-25.
The Dream tried to cut Washington’s lead, but Burke converted on an and-1 reverse layup to put the Mystics up 34-25 at the end of the first half.
Washington finished the first half led by Clark and Delle Donne combining for 14 points on 68.8% shooting from the field. As a team, the Mystics shot 43.8% on 14-32 shooting from the field and 30.8% on 4-13 from distance. The Dream were led by Wheeler, who scored 7 points on 3-5 shooting. As a team, the Dream only shot 35.7% on 10-28 from the field and a subpar 25.0% on 3-12 from deep in the first half.
Washington opened the second half with Clark free-throws to put the Mystics up 35-25. Following another Dream miss, Delle Donne made a tough pull-up jumper for her 9th point of the game.
Coffey connected on another layup, only for Delle Donne to make another mid-range jumper putting Washington up 40-27. Kristy Wallace then converted her second shot of the contest but Austin got fouled, sending her to the line where she went one-of-two from the line.
Atkins subbed in and quickly connected with her second three of the game to make the score 44-31 with 3:38 left to go.
Burke then scored her 9th point of the game off a three-point jumper leading to the Dream’s next timeout of the half with Washington leading 48-31.
Following a made Wheeler jumpshot, the Mystics extended their lead to 17 at 50-33. Following Coffey’s missed three, Washington went berserk by making multiple shots leading to the conclusion of the third quarter.
Atlanta’s Aari McDonald came out of the break by making her fourth shot of the game off an aggressive drive to bring the Dream within 19 points. The Mystics countered with three free throws from Walker-Kimbrough, only for Clark to convert on her fourth make of the game, with Washington now leading 59-35.
Later, Delle Donne’s seventh make of the game ensured her 4,000th career point, which was announced during the following timeout. The crowd stood and applauded the WNBA legend during the break.
With less than five minutes to play, the Dream tried to cut into Washington’s lead, trying not to let the game seem out-of-hand, fighting hard and playing aggressive defense. However, a crowd-pleasing three and multiple buckets with less than three minutes to play from the Mystics amped up the home crowd. The Dream kept fighting in the end, but it was too little too late, and Washington closed the game.
Elena Delle Donne and Kennedy Burke led the Mystics in scoring with 15 and 13 points. Alysha Clark and Ariel Atkins scored 11 and 10 points. Washington shot 43.3% on 26-60 from the field and 31.8% on 7-22 from beyond the arc.
The Mystics will see the floor next versus the Connecticut Sun on Saturday night at 7:00 PM EST at Mohegan Sun Arena, looking to extend their winning streak to two.