Atlanta, GA — All heart, no glory.
While the Atlanta Dream fought valiantly, the Washington Mystics proved the better team, edging out the Dream in a close 87-84 game at McCamish Pavilion Sunday evening for Game One of the WNBA Semifinals.
After falling into a 15-point deficit, the Dream displayed a strong show of heart and focus to stay in the game. However, in the final seconds, Atlanta couldn’t gather their bearings to finish the comeback. The game expired as Tiffany Hayes missed a last-second layup and Jessica Breland missed a straightaway three-pointer on Atlanta’s last possession.
Despite playing against a bigger Mystic team that was dangerous from the three-point line and with players in foul trouble all game, the Dream displayed a strong defensive effort. It was that effort that pushed them to within three points in the final minutes.
Strong showings from Elena Delle Donne (32 pts) and Natasha Cloud (13 pts) gave the Mystics the edge as they went 20-for-20 on free throw shooting and won the turnover battle, only giving up four turnovers to Atlanta’s eight. Despite the loss, Atlanta had four players score in double digits, led by Alex Bentley’s 19.
For the Atlanta Dream, they’ll need to focus on starting the game better and not getting down early in Game Two.
When asked how the Mystics will battle the Dream’s passionate play and high energy, head coach Mike Thibault stated he would rest his players up tonight and that Washington needs to bring their own energy to the game.
“If you can’t bring it at this point in the season you shouldn’t be here,” Thibault said.
Game Two will be on Tuesday night at 8: oo p.m. ET at the McCamish Pavilion and air on ESPN 2.