Mystics host Dream, look to make playoff push

National Sports

The Washington Mystics look to keep their pursuit of the playoffs alive and pull out of a tailspin on Friday when they host the struggling Atlanta Dream.

Washington (10-18) comes into Friday’s matchup a half-game behind the New York Liberty for the last spot in the playoffs with a little more than a week remaining in the regular season.

The Mystics sustained their fourth loss in the last five games on Tuesday, and third defeat in a row — all of which have come by double-digit-point margins — 105-71 at Seattle.

“There’s nothing positive to say about this game other than let’s go home and regroup and try to figure some things out,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said in his postgame press conference. “There’s no moral victories right now.”

Tina Charles, a leading candidate for WNBA Most Valuable Player with averages of 23.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, finished with just four points and four rebounds while committing three turnovers on Tuesday.

Former two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne, who returned briefly in late August from a near two-year absence due to back surgery, missed her fourth consecutive game since leaving midway into an Aug. 26 loss to Dallas.

Center Megan Gustafson, originally signed to a seven-day contract in June to address Washington’s lack of frontcourt, is coming off one of her best professional games with 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Mystics will look to re-establish Charles alongside Gustafson against Atlanta (7-21), the first of their final four games and the only one against a team currently out of the playoff hunt.

The Dream snapped an 11-game losing skid that dated back to July 2 with a 69-64 defeat of Dallas on Sunday, but followed with a 76-75 loss Tuesday to Phoenix. Atlanta was outscored 21-14 in the fourth quarter and lost on three free throws surrendered on a foul beyond the arc in the closing seconds.

“The last play, it was unfortunate. I’ll take the blame for that,” Elizabeth Williams said in the postgame press conference. “This isn’t our first close loss, unfortunately. Now it’s just a matter of being mature and being professionals and finishing the season up strong.”

–Field Level Media

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