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Notes & Quotes: Dream Defeat Mystics, 106-89

GAME NOTES

  • The Washington Mystics (12-8) were defeated, 106-89, by the Atlanta Dream (10-9) Wednesday afternoon at Capital One Arena, snapping a Mystics streak of three consecutive wins over the Dream. Atlanta’s 106 points are the most Washington has allowed this season.
  • Mystics guard Natasha Cloud led the team in scoring for the second time this season, totaling 17 points, which ties her season-high. Cloud hit 7-11 (.636) from the field and 3-4 (.750) from the 3-point range and has tallied 10+ points in four of her last five games.
  • Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne scored 16 points on 5-14 (.357) from the field, 1-1 (1.000) from 3-point range and 5-5 (1.000) from the free throw line. Delle Donne has now scored in double digits in 11 consecutive games.
  • Washington guard Tayler Hill came off the bench to score 10 points, her second game this season scoring in double figures.
  • Washington topped Atlanta in both total rebounds (34-28) and offensive rebounds (16-7). The Mystics 16 offensive rebounds set a new season high. Today’s game was the first time this season Washington lost a game in which they outrebounded their opponent (8-1).
  • Atlanta led Washington, 59-50 after the first half, led by three players with 12+ points. Cloud’s 10 first-half points led the way for the Mystics, who shot 6-12 (.500) from 3-point range in the first two quarters.
  • The Mystics return to action, Friday, July 13, hosting the Chicago Sky at 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena. Washington is 2-0 against Chicago this season with an average margin of victory of 22 points per game. The Mystics defeated the Sky, 88-60, on June 19 and, 93-77, on June 22.

MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT

On the game:
“When you score 89 points, you should probably win, but when you play defense as badly as we did, you don’t give yourself a chance to do that. That is as bad as I think we have played defensively. Give Atlanta credit – they took a timeout after we got off to a good start, regrouped and they took it to us.”

On what he attributes the defensive struggles to:
“It’s everything. It’s following the scouting report. It’s getting up and defending the ball with more pressure. It’s talking more. It’s all of the above.”

On giving up high point totals in consecutive games:
“It’s a concern. I don’t want to talk about specifics of this game because there are so many different ones. I would like to think there were two or three things we could fix just by (giving) all-out effort and execution of the game plan. We’ll see if that happens before Friday (against Chicago).”

MYSTICS GUARD NATASHA CLOUD 

On the team’s defensive performance:
“If I could grade ourselves on defense, today was a complete F. We had our defensive scheme, but we need to take pride in our defense. There is no reason – the last two games our opponents have scored 106 and 97 points. We’re scoring the basketball. That’s the scary thing. We’re scoring the basketball and still losing games. Something has to switch for us as a team. We have to take pride individually and as a team. We need be able to put together consecutive stops, because our offense is there. But our offense can’t show if we’re not getting stops on the defensive end.”

On what went wrong after an early Atlanta timeout:
“No defense. That was the entire game. No defense. Our second group did very well on that third into fourth quarter – they kind of got it going on the defensive end. We have to, as a whole, lock down on the defensive end. This is a championship team if are just average on the defensive end. We just have to buy in.”

MYSTICS FORWARD ELENA DELLE DONNE

On today’s performance:
“You have to give credit to Atlanta with their pace. They have so many skilled players – if you leave one open, they’re going to knock it down, but if you leave the other one open then they’ll hit it too. We just have to figure out a way to not get into so many mismatches and not to not allow them to play at such a fast pace.”

On added game-to-game pressure with more parity in the league:
“Every game is a dog fight. You have to be prepared to come out and fight it out like a playoff game. It’s definitely wide open. I feel like the standings don’t mean a thing right now. You just have to focus each game and come away with a win.”

DREAM HEAD COACH NICKI COLLEN

On the ball movement:
“We had 31 assists. I do not know, but it has got to be an Atlanta record. I felt really good all the way around. I thought we had good shots even the first few possessions, we just did not come out covering the 3-point line at the beginning of the game, and kind of got down, but we just kept clawing and scrapping and we knew we could get shots against this team and so we stuck shots. We had good ball movement. We had good player movement all the way around.”

On four starters scoring 20+ points:
“When you get on a roll, it is the beauty of sports in general, confidence is a beautiful thing and when the person next to you is making shots and you get a little cushion, it becomes a little easy to step up and take the next shot. There is not tons of pressure when you are playing with a 12 point lead to take an open three and make it 15.”

DREAM GUARD TIFFANY HAYES

On her confidence today:
“It was huge. All of us were shooting lights out. It was crazy. I think we deserved that. We had not been shooting well in the beginning of the season, and coach stressed how this is the second half and turn a new leaf, and today we definitely showed that we can shoot the ball.”

On what can they improve on going forward:
“We cannot keep giving away our leads. You build leads for a reason, for that. I want to turn 20 into 30, 30 into 40. Not 20 and then 15, and 12 and back to 14. I think we can do that a little bit.”

DREAM FORWARD ANGEL McCOUGHTRY

On their defensive effort today:
“Defensively, we played a great game today. Their whole team, they can shoot threes. [Elena] Delle Donne is so hard to guard. I think we did a good job just helping on Delle Donne and getting some steals, and just being active the whole game.”

On seeing her teammates getting comfortable early on and making shots, and what that does for her:
“That is the thing. Let them do their thing and it kind of takes attention off me a little bit, and then that is when I can come and get my spots. I like to sneak and get them, to get my little sneaky points in there, but we had 30 something assists which I think is a franchise record. That is what we want to do. We want to continue to share the ball and everybody get their touches.”