Dream 93, Mystics 68
Lindsey Harding and Armintie Price made sure that the Atlanta Dream bounced back from a tough double-overtime loss in their previous game.
Harding had 15 points and nine assists, Price scored nine of her 15 in the first quarter and the Dream led by 30 points while cruising to a 93-68 victory over the Washington Mystics on Sunday. Atlanta (16-14) shot 58 percent, had 29 assists on 40 baskets and scored scored 52 points in the paint.
On Friday night, the Dream squandered a 25-point halftime lead against defending champion Minnesota before losing 97-93 in two overtimes.
''We're at our best when we share the ball,'' Harding said. ''We didn't play badly at Minnesota. We played well. We wanted to keep that same level of play and the same intensity.''
Price believes the Dream, who have reached the WNBA Finals in each of the last two years before getting swept in the title round, can take something positive from the tough loss.
''We're trying to win a championship,'' Price said. ''We know that we have to learn from every game and keep getting better. We want to get off to good start in every game and that's what we were able to do.''
Erika DeSouza had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and 10 players scored for Atlanta. Cathrine Kraayeveld had 11 points, Tiffany Hayes added 10 with seven assists. Angel McCoughry, who came in averaging a league-leading 21.1 points per game and had 30 in the loss to the Lynx, scored eight against Washington.
''That game on the road at Minnesota was a good proving factor for us,'' coach Fred Williams said. ''We wanted to come out and play hard again.''
Crystal Langhorne and Noelle Quinn scored 12 points each for the league-worst Mystics (5-24), who lost their eighth straight. Monique Currie and Jasmine Thomas added 10 points each, and Ashley Robinson grabbed 13 rebounds. Washington committed 19 turnovers while shooting 37 percent.
''I think it was some mental lapses, especially in the first half,'' Washington coach Trudi Lacey said. ''Just not getting back on defense. We talk about it as part of our game plan and for whatever reason we didn't do it. Against a good playoff team like that you obviously can't make those kind of mistakes.''
The Dream shot 61 percent in the first half and led 44-20 in the second quarter before settling for a 46-27 halftime lead. Atlanta had 26 points in the paint and scored 14 on the fast break.
Washington shot just 28 percent in the first half and committed 12 turnovers.
Atlanta made nine of its first 11 shots and led 20-9 before Washington cut the margin to 22-15 at the end of the first quarter. But the Dream went on a 22-2 run in the second quarter to go up 44-20.
Price made her first four shots and had nine of her 11 first-half points in the opening quarter. Harding had six assists in the first half.
''We wanted to set the tone early,'' Williams said. ''We saw a lot of combination passes, especially in the first half.''
The Mystics cut Atlanta's lead to 60-45, but the Dream ended the third quarter on an 8-0 run go up by 23 points going into the final quarter. The lead reached 30 points at 88-58.
Atlanta beat Washington twice last month without McCoughtry, including an 82-59 home victory on Aug. 30. The teams meet for the final time at Washington on Friday.