Mystics stay unbeaten with 77-61 win over Liberty

story courtesy of Yahoo Sports

WASHINGTON (AP)—Lindsey Harding scored 21 points and the undefeated Washington Mystics scored the final 16 points in a 77-61 win over the New York Liberty on Friday night.

Monique Currie scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and Crystal Langhorne finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Mystics (3-0), who overcame a sloppy start in their home opener.

“It’s been the case with our team this year, we find a way to win,” Washington coach Julie Plank said. “I thought our defense turned it up. We played an excellent second half.”

After the Liberty tied it at 61 with 6:21 remaining in the fourth, the Mystics took the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Harding.

Cappie Pondexter led the Liberty (1-1) with 14 points, and Janel McCarville and Nicole Powell each added 10.

“I’m glad it’s the second game of the season and not the 14th,” Pondexter said. “A lot to improve on, but staying positive. A lot more basketball ahead of us.”

New York turned a three-point halftime hole into a 45-39 lead with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter, but the Liberty made only 2 of 15 field goals in the fourth.

Currie, who entered as the WNBA’s leading scorer at 24 points per game, scored nine in the fourth quarter.

“At halftime I cleared my mind and really just let the first half go,” Currie said. “It’s a game of two halves and I was ready to play when the second half came.”

The Mystics closed the second quarter on a 15-2 run, including the final 12 points despite Currie being saddled with three fouls. Harding started the stretch with a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock, scored the next two Mystics baskets on nifty drives to the hoop and then ended the half with a jumper with 3.3 seconds remaining for a 31-28 halftime lead.

“Lindsey definitely gave them the energy that they were looking for,” Pondexter said. “They kind of started off slow and we started well and she picked it up and gave them momentum.”

NOTES: Mystics first round pick Jacinta Monroe made her debut after missing the first two games because of an ankle injury. She had two points in four minutes.

Above photo provided by Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images


McCoughtry, Lyttle lead Dream past Suns 97-82

Story of courtesy Yahoo Sports

ATLANTA (AP)—Angel McCoughtry scored 32 points and Sancho Lyttle added 27 to lead the unbeaten Atlanta Dream to a 97-82 win over the Connecticut Sun on Friday night.

Lyttle grabbed 16 rebounds and McCoughtry had 10. Iziane Castro Marques scored 18 points and Shalee Lehning handed out 10 assists for the Dream (3-0).

“We had some special performances, but this was a team victory,” coach Marynell Meaders said.

Former University of Connecticut standout Tina Charles, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, led the Sun (1-1) with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Atlanta led by as many as 27 points in the third quarter and shot 53.4 percent for the game. Castro Marques scored 11 points in the second quarter after McCoughtry had 11 in the opening period, helping the Dream shoot 61.8 percent for a 51-32 halftime lead.

“We get the rebound and we look up and there is someone always there filling the lane,” Lyttle said. “We like to get out and run. We have young legs, so hopefully that will be to our advantage.”

Atlanta outscored Connecticut 25-9 in the second quarter. Castro Marques had nine consecutive points in one stretch and made all seven of her first-half shots, including a 3-pointer.

“I don’t think there is anyone in the league that is faster than us,” Meadors said.

The Dream outrebounded Connecticut 27-12 over the first 20 minutes, held the Sun to 30 percent shooting and had 18 fastbreak points.

“We had a week to get ready for this,” Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. “Our entire focus of practice was defensive transition against their fast break and defensive rebound. We were awful at both. It was like we’d never practiced.”

Charles, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Sun defeated Chicago 74-61 in the team’s opener, scored 10 points in the first half against Atlanta.

The Dream’s next four games are on the road, beginning Sunday at New York. The Sun is at home Sunday against Washington.

Above photo provided by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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