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Atlanta Dream defeats the Washington Mystics 80-72, goes to the Eastern Conference Finals

The Dream went on a 27-17 fourth quarter run over the Mystics which helped them earn the victory. The Dream will now host the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Monique Currie led DC in scoring for Game 3, but it wasn't enough to beat ATL
Monique Currie led DC in scoring for Game 3, but it wasn't enough to beat ATL
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

For Atlanta, Erika de Souza and Tiffany Hayes each scored 18 points, and Armintie Herrington had 14 points.  Though she only made four of 19 shots, Angel McCoughtry who added 13 points, dished 7 assists, grabbed five rebounds, and also had three steals.  Another ex factor for the Dream was that it had another considerable rebounding advantage over the Mystics, winning 39-24 in that category.  The Dream also had 18 offensive rebounds, while the Mystics had only 8.

For DC, Monique Currie and Ivory Latta led the way with 22 and 15 points respectively.  In addition, Kia Vaughn added 10 points.  Matee Ajavon led the Mystics in assists with five for the night and also made five out of six free throws, and had nine points for the game.  Crystal Langhorne also was unable to do much, scoring only five points, but she did lead the team in rebounds with six.  One other disparity that didn't help the Mystics was that they had a total of 26 personal fouls while the Dream only had 20 and that didn't do them any favors, even though from our game thread, many members believed the officials were "giving" this to Atlanta because the Mystics don't have star power.

Unlike the other two games, the rookie unit of Tayler Hill, Emma Meesseman, Nadirah McKenith, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt didn't play much and no one provided anything of much consequence, which I find very disappointing considering how they played overall all season long.

Instead of going on a diatribe on this game and its outcome, and complaining about the Mystics' faults or what Coach Thibault could have done, the big picture is this.  This Mystics team was supposed to be last place in the Eastern Conference and not play much better than they did last year.  However instead, they wouldn't listen to the preseason talk and let their games do the talking.

This Mystics team ultimately went 17-17, they had a winning record against a stronger Western Conference, and swept the Minnesota Lynx, the team that is favored by many, if not most at this point, to be the WNBA champions this year.

We saw Ivory Latta become the biggest free agent steal in the WNBA and earn her first All-Star appearance as the Mystics' new floor leader.  We saw that there were multiple rookies who could be significant pieces for DC in the future who were not first round picks, like Meesseman, Ruffin-Pratt, and McKenith had their moments.  And though she did not have a good start to her rookie year, first round pick Tayler Hill was hitting her stride toward the end.  If the WNBA had an 82 game regular season, I guarantee that she would be an even bigger part of this Mystics team because it would just be the midseason point for the NBA.  Keep in mind that they just played 37 games, regular and post-season.

Yes, the Mystics have a big offseason ahead of them.  Many questions, even fundamental ones remain and we'll get to it at that time.  But one question has certainly been answered if nothing else.  We know unequivocally that Mike Thibault was the right man to change the culture of the team, and we've seen this team do just that.  I at least remain hopeful that he can continue this upward momentum next year as he continues to revamp this DC team.

So I want to say thank you to Monumental Sports and the Washington Mystics for making the 2013 season a success and much more enjoyable to follow than I thought it would.  Was it perfect? No.  Did I wish some things were different?  Sure.  But I definitely can say that things are moving in a positive direction, which is what all the fans of team were hoping for last December when Ted Leonsis hired Coach Thibault to lead this team.

I can't think of any more things to say, but I am looking forward to next year, and am hopeful that this team can make some changes and be even better, and this time advance further into the playoffs.  I leave you all with the music video of Foo Fighters' "Next Year" which is the best way I can sum everything up.

Once again, thank you Monumental Sports and Washington Mystics for making this season much better than anticipated, and now that the NBA season is finally about to start, I also am hopeful that the Wizards can play at a high level like the Mystics did, and that they will get to the postseason as well.