Still in search of first 2024 win, Mystics take on Dream

In search of an end to a winless start to the season, the Washington Mystics travel to College Park, Ga., to face the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday.

Washington (0-12) extended the worst start in franchise history on Sunday, falling 93-88 to the New York Liberty. The Mystics led by five with under nine minutes left in the game but were outscored 21-11 over the final 8:18.

For Washington head coach Eric Thibault, as difficult as the stretch has been, he believes the team is improving.

“I told our team after the game, the loss stings because we played so hard, but we’re becoming a better basketball team,” Thibault said. “We’re putting longer stretches of the game together. We’ve had a couple games in a row where teams have made threes and made tough shots on us. But the only way that this continues to go backwards is if we get discouraged or start to blame each other.”

A bright spot in Sunday’s loss was Jade Melboune, who poured in 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting off the bench. On the season, Ariel Atkins leads the team with 13.2 points per game.

Shakira Austin adds 11.7 points per game but hasn’t played since May 31 due to a left hip injury and she’s listed as questionable. Brittney Sykes (left ankle) was injured in the second game of the season and is probable.

Hoping to avoid becoming Washington’s first win, Atlanta (5-4) will look to build off its second-best offensive performance this season. The visiting Dream topped the Chicago Sky on Saturday 89-80, scoring their most points since dropping 92 in a win at the Los Angeles Sparks on opening night.

Tina Charles’ 22 points led five Atlanta double-figure scorers, while Cheyenne Parker-Tyus added 18 points and Rhyne Howard tallied 10 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and five steals.

“Really proud of (Tina and Cheyenne),” Atlanta coach Tanisha Wright said. “I thought they dominated the game. … I think we got everybody in their comfort zones and in spots where they can dominate. From the first person to the last, I thought we were really comfortable and we moved the ball really well.”

Atlanta finished with 22 assists, just one off its season best. Allisha Gray’s 16 points per game lead the team, followed by Howard’s 15.1.

The Dream beat Washington 73-67 on May 29 and have won five in a row in the series.

–Field Level Media