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Recap: Dream take 2-1 series lead over the Mystics with Tiffany Hayes coming up big

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The Atlanta Dream got the 81-76 Game 3 win over the Washington Mystics behind a double-double from Tiffany Hayes. The teams battle again in this best-of-five series on Sunday.

The Dream’s Tiffany Hayes came up big for Atlanta in Game 3 of the best-of-five semifinals series against the Washington Mystics.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The good news for both teams is that all players escaped the slippery court conditions without injury (see: “Additional game note,” below). The bad news for the Mystics/Dream is that they are now down one game in the best-of-five semifinals series.


Atlanta Dream (81) vs. Washington Mystics (76)

The Dream now lead the best-of-five semifinals series, 2-1.

Atlanta came out hot with a 19-13 first quarter, ready to seize the opportunity to get a win over the Washington Mystics with Elena Delle Donne sidelined due to a left knee bone bruise. Without their star, the Mystics needed role players to step up in her stead. Kristi Toliver, a known sharpshooter for the Mystics, was a clear early target of Atlanta’s defense, which limited her to just two points for most of the first half. But the game was close through halftime, with a Tiffany Hayes bucket before the break that put the Dream up 37-34, following 12 lead changes and six ties across the first two quarters.

In the loss, Ariel Powers stepped up big in the third quarter to give the Mystics a lead that lasted all of 0.0000001 seconds before Hayes silenced the crowd with a three-pointer. But Powers’ aggression — a team-high 18 points on a night when Kristi Toliver couldn’t buy a bucket — gave Washington the confidence-building energy they needed. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the balanced effort from Atlanta, with Hayes, Brittney Sykes and Renee Montgomery chipping in timely points that gave the Dream an eight-point lead early into the fourth quarter.

The Dream’s defense sealed the deal, though, just as it has all season, with Atlanta limiting the Mystics to their worst offensive performance of the season. Hayes was the game-high scorer with 23 points and she contributed 11 rebounds for a double-double in an impressive Game 3 win for Atlanta.

In the loss, Toliver was limited to 7 points and went an uncharacteristic 1-of-9 from three-point range.

Additional game note: Game 3 was played at Charles Smith Center on the campus of George Washington University due to renovations to the Mystics’ usual home, Capital One Arena. On a humid night, condensation from the air conditioning system dripped down onto the court for the majority of the game, causing players to slip and fall repeatedly, which was clearly concerning to the mic’d up Dream Head Coach Nicki Collen. LaChina Robinson reported that the WNBA was monitoring the situation out of concern for player safety.


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