The first half of the season has been tough for the injury-plagued Washington Mystics, but there's reason to believe things are looking up.
In their final game before the All-Star break Wednesday, the Mystics look to build on a thrilling comeback victory when they host an Atlanta Dream team that appears to be turning its season around.
One year after earning the Eastern Conference's top playoff seed, Washington (3-10) is in last place. The Mystics have been beset by injuries as Alana Beard has yet to play and Monique Currie is out for the season.
Crystal Langhorne - among the league leaders with 17.8 points per game - was also sidelined for three games with a back injury, but she came up with a clutch performance in a 89-85 overtime victory over Los Angeles on Sunday.
Langhorne finished with 24 points and a season-best 14 rebounds as the Mystics overcame a 22-point halftime deficit and completed the largest second-half comeback in WNBA history. She scored 19 points after halftime, while Matee Ajavon scored 12 of her 29 after the third to help Washington snap a five-game skid.
"The whole time, we were confident we could come back,'' Ajavon said.
The Mystics trailed by 24 in the first half and were down by 14 heading into the fourth quarter before scoring 32 to force overtime.
"With this team, I'm not surprised by anything,'' Langhorne said. "It just shows how much heart we have as a team. We're always gonna fight back.''
While the incredible comeback might be just what the Mystics need to spark a playoff run, the Dream (5-9) may be getting their season on track for a postseason push.
The defending conference champions, who swept Washington in the first round last year, defeated Indiana 84-74 on Tuesday. Atlanta has won two in a row after losing six of eight.
"I think we're moving in the right direction,'' said former Mystics guard Lindsey Harding, who had a team-high 19 points. "We're building up and getting better and better but we still haven't reached our full potential.''
The Dream have stepped up defensively in the last two, allowing an average of 71.0 points after giving up 87.4 in the previous five.
Like Washington, Atlanta has also been hit hard by injuries and could be a bit tired for its second game in as many days. The Dream dressed only nine players against the Fever and were without Sancho Lyttle and Coco Miller.
All-Star Angel McCoughtry was on the floor for 19 minutes because of foul trouble but still had 15 points. A knee injury limited her to three minutes in the first meeting with the Mystics, a 98-90 overtime loss June 9.
Erika de Souza, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday, led Atlanta with 20 points and 14 boards versus Washington last month.
Langhorne had 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Mystics in that matchup, while Nicky Anosike added a career-high 29 points and 13 boards.