ATLANTA (AP) — After a few days of turmoil, the Atlanta Dream finally had something to feel good about Thursday night.
Erika DeSouza had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Atlanta dominated the second half and the Dream defeated the Washington Mystics 82-59 to give coach Fred Williams his first victory.
“Everything Fred talks about is teamwork,” DeSouza said. “That is the way we have to win games.”
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Lindsay Harding had 16 points with five assists and Tiffany Hayes scored 15 points for the Dream (13-13), who were again without WNBA scoring leader Angel McCoughtry. Atlanta outscored the Mystics 51-28 after trailing 33-31 at halftime.
“We got Fred’s first win and we’re happy,” said Sancho Lyttle, who added 11 points and nine rebounds. “We’ve going to take this one game at a time. We don’t know what is going to happen.”
McCoughtry was suspended indefinitely for a violation of unspecified team policy after Williams took over as general manager and coach from Marynell Meadors before Tuesday’s home loss to Tulsa.
McCoughtry had been involved in a conflict with Meadors and sat out two games for personal reasons before returning Saturday against Minnesota. Meadors was fired on Monday.
Williams said McCoughtry’s status hadn’t changed.
“I’m happy about the game,” he said. “I really haven’t though too much about that.”
Monique Currie had 14 points and Crystal Langhorne scored 13 for Washington (5-20). They Mystics are 1-6 since the Olympic break
Atlanta scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to go up 67-48 after taking charge in the third quarter, when the Dream made their first six shots and outscored Washington 26-15.
“We made some adjustments in the second half and it generated some good offense for us and we created some good things defensively by getting out in the passing lanes,” Williams said. “We’ve got to continue that.”
Atlanta had 24 fast-break points to eight for Washington.
“They came at us, were physical and took it to us,” Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. “Once they made the run, it snowballed.”
Washington led 33-31 at halftime thanks to a 14-6 spurt to end the second quarter. Longhorn and Currie each had 10 first-half points for the Mystics, while DeSouza scored nine for the Dream.
“We slowed them down in transition, which is what they are good at,” Currie said of the first half. “. In the second half, the game got away from us.”
The Dream couldn’t hold a 17-point second-quarter lead and lost to Tulsa 84-80 in Williams’ debut on Tuesday. It was the Shocks’ first road victory.
“It kind of flip-flopped,” Williams said of the Washington victory.
“We’ve been flat in the third quarter,” said Arminite Price, who had three of the Dream’s 12 steals. “We wanted to come out with a spark and let it carry over.”