After last week’s poor performance against the Connecticut Sun on the road, the Washington Mystics turned things around by beating the Atlanta Dream 96-75 Saturday at their new home at Washington’s Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Ariel Atkins led Washington’s scorers with 21 points, 12 of them in the third quarter. Her overall performance all game was just spectacular:
.@iamArielAtkins scores 21 PTS (8-11 FGM) to lead the @WashMystics over the Dream #WatchMeWork pic.twitter.com/SWXm44DZ8o— WNBA (@WNBA) June 2, 2019
Elena Delle Donne added 18 points and Emma Meesseman scored 14 more off the bench. For the Dream, Tiffany Hayes and Alex Bentley led with 11 points each.
The Mystics played this game in front of a packed crowd, where fans were looking to see Washington pick up from a 2018 season when they made the WNBA Finals. It started just about as well as fans would have hoped. In fitting fashion, Delle Donne scored the first basket of the game:
.@de11edonne with the FIRST STICS BUCKET at our new home! pic.twitter.com/UcXaBz1H0L— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) June 1, 2019
The next two Mystics to score baskets were Kristi Toliver and Atkins. Washington quickly gained a double-digit lead and never looked back.
Meesseman showed the impact she could provide as a reserve, scoring all 14 of her points in the second and third quarters on 7-of-8 shooting. She gave Dream center Marie Gülich a very tough matchup in particular.
.@_shatori ➡️ @EmmaMeesseman for the bucket #WNBA pic.twitter.com/cAwiCw8ZaA— WNBA (@WNBA) June 1, 2019
By the end of the third quarter, the Mystics led 79-49 on 61.5 percent shooting from the field and having dished out 22 team assists, while holding the Dream to just 38.9 percent shooting and six team assists. Washington’s averages declined a little bit in the last quarter, but by then, the outcome of this game was well in hand.
The fans also played a major part in Washington’s win: Saturday’s game was a sellout. Though it is easier for the Mystics to sell out games this season with a 4,200-seat facility, the vast majority of fans showed up on time to watch the game. And the crowd was loud, giving the Mystics the type of home-court advantage they lacked for years until now.
Next up for the Mystics
The Mystics’ next game is on Wednesday, June 5 when they host the Chicago Sky. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.
Next up for the Dream
The Dream’s next game is on Thursday, June 6 when they host the Las Vegas Aces at State Farm Arena. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.