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Posted Jun 19 2008 4:32PM
When the Atlanta Dream traveled to Washington last month, they left with a loss, but also with some optimism that their first win as a franchise might come soon.
Seven more defeats later, they'll still be looking for that elusive first victory when they visit the Mystics on Friday night.
The Dream (0-11) lost the first three games of their inaugural season by an average of 21.0 points, but their fourth game was an 80-74 defeat in Washington in which they cut a nine-point deficit to one with three minutes left.
They followed that with an 85-81 loss to Minnesota, but lately, they haven't had many near-misses.
Five of their last six losses have come by at least nine points, and Wednesday's 81-66 defeat to San Antonio left them two losses shy of matching the 2003 Detroit Shock's 0-13 start as the worst in league history. A loss Friday would send them into Sunday's game against Detroit with a chance to tie the record.
The Dream shot just 36 percent Wednesday, as leading scorer Betty Lennox failed to reach double figures in points for only the second time this season and Ivory Latta was 2-of-11 from the field.
"We have to make layups and not turn the ball over late in games," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "When you miss layups, it breaks your back."
Against the Mystics (4-7) last month, Lennox had 29 points and shot 6-of-7 from 3-point range, but it still wasn't enough as Washington's Alana Beard had 25 points and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 19 in the victory.
Atlanta forward Erika de Souza, who averaged 11.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in the first three games this year, fractured her lower leg against the Mystics and remains out.
Washington lost five straight after that game, but has since won its last two, including a 67-63 win at Houston Wednesday. Beard had 23 points, boosting her scoring average this season to a career-best 19.9 points per game.
The Mystics, who are still last in the league in scoring at 68.4 points per game, return home after playing five of their last six games on the road. They're seeking their first three-game winning streak since they won four straight in August.
Meadors will be making her second trip back to Washington, where she served as an assistant coach for the past three seasons.