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McWilliams-Franklin Lifts Mystics Past Dream
Posted Jul 25 2008 11:45PM
Washington 81, Atlanta 75
ATLANTA, July 25 (AP) - Taj McWilliams-Franklin credits the Mystics' new coach for Washington's improved play.
The Mystics have won two of three since Jessie Kenlaw was named interim coach after the firing of Tree Rollins last week.
"Coach Kenlaw is definitely more enthusiastic,'' McWilliams-Franklin said. "She is constantly motivating us. That's her style.''
McWilliams-Franklin scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds in Washington's 81-75 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Friday night.
"What I have stressed since taking over the team is defense and discipline,'' Kenlaw said. "This is what I felt we were missing. In the past, we have been a halfcourt team, and I would like to see us get out and run more.''
The expansion Dream have lost four straight, dropping the WNBA's worst record to 3-23.
Lennox began the game with the Dream's top scoring average at 17.3, but she finished just 1-for-6 from the field and now has a total of just nine points over the last three games.
Atlanta came within one on Ivory Latta's 3-pointer before Currie responded with a runner that made it 78-75 with 3:15 remaining.
"Toward the end is what cost us the game,'' Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "There were spurts where we played really well and other times where we got tired.''
The Mystics' biggest lead, 74-61, came on Nakia Sanford's layin at the 8:33 mark.
Erika DeSouza played her first game for the Dream since breaking her leg in a loss to Washington on May 27. She finished with six points and four rebounds in nearly 13 minutes.
"It is so great to have her back,'' Castro Marques said. "She's psyched. I knew she was having a hard time sitting on the bench when she knew she could be helping us.''
DeSouza, at 6-foot-5, gives Atlanta another big presence on the front line. For the second straight game, though, the Dream failed to take advantage of 12 blocked shots.
"My goal tonight was to drive around them and force them to move their feet and pass the ball to the open person,'' McWilliams-Franklin said. "That was why we were able to get so many easy baskets.''
Alison Bales has now blocked five shots in two consecutive games, but her rejection of Sanford's short jumper with 1:51 remaining only led to a pair of turnovers by Latta.
"Right now we need to finish games,'' Meadors said. "We need to do better in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.''