The Atlanta Dream look to draw one step closer to clinching a playoff birth tonight as they begin a home and home series with the Washington Mystics. A victory would also pull Atlanta into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with the idle New York Liberty.
The Dream has taken two out of three games from the Mystics this season but it hasn't necessarily been easy. Washington defeated Atlanta 98-90 at Philips Arena way back on June 9. The Dream have since defeated the Mystics twice in Washington winning 86-79 on July 20 and 72-70 on Aug 9. Washington's Crystal Langhorne has been a thorn in the side of the Dream averaging 25.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in the three prior meetings. They Mystics however enter tonight's contest with a nine game losing streak.
After a 3-9 start, Atlanta is playing its best basketball of the season despite battling through injuries to various players the entire season. Erika de Souza is the latest Dream player to suffer an injury after she twisted an ankle while chasing down a loose ball on Tuesday against Indiana. After suffering the injury, de Souza did not return to the game and her status for tonight's game would appear to be in doubt. That could mean that Allison Bales would return to the starting lineup alongside Sancho Lyttle or coach Marynell Meadors could elect to go with a small lineup like she did down the stretch against Indiana.
Angel McCoughtry has been the focal point of the Atlanta attack during their current run of 13 wins in 17 games. The All-Star forward is second in the WNBA in scoring averaging 20.7 points a night. Her 28 points Tuesday against Indiana marks the sixth straight game that she has topped the 20 point plateau.
For more on the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA Playoff Race, be sure and check out Swish Appeal.