Mystics vs. Dream: Washington grabs Game 1 victory on the road
ATLANTA (AP) - Ivory Latta scored 14 points, and Kia Vaughn and Crystal Langhorne each had 12 to help the Washington Mystics beat the Atlanta Dream 71-56 in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinals series Thursday night.
Washington, in the playoffs for the first time in three years, snapped an eight-game postseason skid dating back to Sept. 24, 2004.
Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry, the two-time WNBA scoring champion, finished with 20 points despite missing 12 of her first 14 attempts from the field.
Washington, which has won four straight and six of eight, can clinch the best-of-three series with a victory at home on Saturday.
The Dream shot a franchise-worst 26.7 percent and tied for their fewest points. Atlanta has lost five in a row and 17 of 24.
Washington has blossomed in its first year under coach Mike Thibault, whose team had four starters score in double figures and outrebounded Atlanta 48-36. Langhorne had a game-high 15 boards.
The Mystics never relinquished momentum after Latta pulled up on fast break to hit a straightaway 3-pointer that made it 47-32 with 3:48 left in the third.
Dream coach Fred Williams called a timeout, but Erika de Souza followed by missing a layup, and Atlanta trailed by 23 before McCoughtry's 3 made it 57-37 at the 1:05 mark of the third.
McCoughtry sat on the bench for the final 5:50 as Williams likely wanted to rest her with the outcome all but decided and both teams playing again Saturday in Washington.
The Dream, in the playoffs for the fifth straight year, were stymied offensively as de Souza, Le'Coe Willingham, Tiffany Hayes, Aneika Henry and Alex Bentley combining to go 9 for 43.