For the second time in eight days, the Washington Mystics played the Atlanta Dream tonight. The Mystics handily defeated the Dream at home last Tuesday, 92-74. In the meanwhile, the Mystics suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Suns after blowing a commanding lead in the second half. So, tonight was a wonderful opportunity for the Mystics to bounce back from their overtime defeat against a practical foe, albeit on the road.
For the Mystics, tonight’s game was in fact a cause for celebration as they easily won on the road 85-66. Well, it wasn’t really a cruise the entire time, to be honest. The first quarter finished with a 20-20 tie, while the Mystics only led 60-54 to begin the fourth.
Ariel Atkins: the power player for The Washington Mystics
As she discreetly toils away, Ariel Atkins is aware of the situation. The Washington Mystics guard will play in her second straight WNBA All-Star Game on Sunday as the greatest names in the league converge in Chicago. But it won’t be because the fans chose her. Even though Atkins won an Olympic gold medal, was selected for four consecutive all-defensive teams, and was once more chosen by the coaches to make the all-star squad, their attention will be diverted by others.
Atkins, before the Mystics’ 85-66 win over the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday, said, “I think respect, more than anything, is kind of top tier for me. I mean, you would love to be the most marketed and the most X, Y, Z and all that type of things. But if you get respect from coaches in the league, that’s pretty dope to me.”
With 10 points in 26 minutes, Atkins contributed to the Mystics’ (14-10) comfortable lead at the half while also playing her typical tight defense. She was 2 for 7 from the field and had foul problems, but she had averaged 16.2 points over her previous five games and shot a combined 57.1 percent over her previous two coming into the game against the Dream (10-12). She attributed the increase in output to the offense’s advancement.
Elena Delle’s incredible performance
With 26 points in just 27 minutes (and 8 rebounds), Elena Delle Donne was unstoppable. She also had double-digit contributions from Cloud, Atkins, Hines-Allen, and Walker-Kimbrough (13,10,14,12 each). The Dream had four players with double digits on the opposite side (exactly 10 points each), but nobody appeared to be winning on that side.
The Mystics have now moved to 14-10 on the year and have six days off before returning to the West to play the Sparks the following Tuesday.