Mystics 74, Dream 64
The Washington Mystics used strong defense and a dominant fourth quarter to end their skid against the Dream.
Monique Currie scored 15 points and Kia Vaughn had 12 points and 10 rebounds and the Mystics snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Dream with a 74-64 win over Atlanta on Friday night.
Ivory Latta had 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Mystics (13-15), who opened the final period with a 14-1 run.
Washington had lost two consecutive games overall and dropped its previous three games to the Dream (14-10) this season by an average of 13 points.
''Obviously a terrific win, badly needed for a lot of reasons,'' Mystics coach Mike Thibault said.
Washington, which committed only 10 turnovers, moved into a third-place tie with idle Indiana.
The Dream lost their eighth straight road game despite Angel McCoughtry's 17 points. Erika DeSouza had 14 points and 12 rebounds, but Atlanta was outscored 24-13 in the fourth quarter and went 1 for 18 on 3-point attempts.
Washington's victory ended some frustration against the Dream.
''That we are tired of losing to them, really,'' Currie said. ''They're a really good team, but you can get them to make mistakes and that's what we did. We made them take a lot of outside shots, which isn't their strong point.
''It was our defense that won the game.''
The Dream scored 42 points in the paint, but the Mystics clogged the interior as Washington Wizards point guard John Wall watched courtside.
''Washington did a good compacting inside the paint where we couldn't get to the rim like we wanted to so we had to settle for outside Js,'' Dream coach Fred Williams said.
The Dream are three games behind Eastern Conference leader Chicago. Atlanta hosts the Sky on Saturday. The Dream have the WNBA's best home record at 11-1 with each victory by at least nine points, but they are 3-9 on the road.
''You just have to come and play harder on the road just like at home,'' Williams said of the home-road disparity. ''Doesn't matter who it is or what opponent it is. I think tonight we just didn't hit a lot of open looks that we needed to hit.''
The Mystics do not play again until the series finale at Atlanta on Wednesday.
''We only play two games in like a 16 or 17-day period and both against them. We don't play again until next Wednesday, so we can feel good for several days. It's miserable otherwise.''
Washington trailed 51-50 entering the final period in a game that featured 18 lead changes. The last one came on Tierra Ruffin-Pratt's jumper opening the quarter, which put Washington in front for good.
Latta made two 3-pointers in the decisive stretch and Vaughn's putback with 4:21 remaining gave Washington the largest lead for either team at 64-52.
Neither team shot well overall, but the Mystics were 47.1 percent in the fourth while Atlanta went 4 for 15.
The WNBA's leader in points and steals, McCoughtry had eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals, but went 6 of 20 from the field with five turnovers.
Despite Saturday's game, McCoughtry isn't willing to say the Dream are in a must-win position.
''I don't think we're concerned with first, second, third,'' she said. ''As long as we clinch the playoffs, we can take it from there.''
The Mystics, who had lost three of four at home, held small margins after the first and second quarters, though neither team led by more than seven until the fourth quarter.
Tiffany Hayes had 10 points on 3 of 13 shooting for the Dream. She set and matched her career-high with 23 points in each of her previous two games.
Washington's eight straight losses to Atlanta included five at home.
Tayler Hill scored 10 points for the Mystics.
Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first quarter as Washington led 37-35. McCoughtry had 12 points in the half.