3:00 PM ET, September 9, 2012
Even without Angel McCoughtry, the Atlanta Dream won both games against the Washington Mystics last month.Having the WNBA's leading scorer available should give the host Dream an even bigger edge Sunday when they try to rebound from a rough loss and hand the league-worst Mystics an eighth straight loss.Although McCoughtry is scoring a career-best 22.3 points per game and is a first-time Olympic gold medalist after helping the U.S. win in London, it's been a rough season for the former No. 1 overall pick. After former coach Marynell Meadors did not start her June 15 against Los Angeles for violating a team rule, McCoughtry missed two games last month for personal reasons.The star forward returned Aug. 25 -- a day after Atlanta's 81-69 victory in the nation's capital -- but she was suspended the next two games, including an 82-59 home win over Washington, for another team rules violation.McCoughtry, though, is averaging 23.0 points and shooting 54.2 percent in three games since returning. Her 30 points off the bench Friday weren't enough as the Dream (15-14) lost 97-93 in double-overtime to league-best Minnesota, which matched a league record by overcoming a 25-point deficit.Atlanta totaled 27 points over the third and fourth quarters."Coming out of the half, we had some looks and some shots that didn't fall for us," said coach Fred Williams, who is 3-2 since Meadors was fired.The Mystics (5-23) can relate to those shooting woes after making 36.2 percent from the field in Friday's 96-68 loss to Los Angeles."It was a tough loss," coach Trudi Lacey said after her team's seventh loss in a row. "We showed moments of good execution. ... But overall, a team that is that good, you can't turn the ball over."That's especially true considering Washington is averaging a league-low 69.6 points.If the Mystics are going to snap a six-game road skid, they'll likely need a better effort from leading scorer Crystal Langhorne, who finished with six points Friday. Langhorne leads the Mystics with 30 points over two meetings with Atlanta this season.Teammate Monique Currie scored 14 points in each of those matchups, while rookie guard Tiffany Hayes totaled 31 in place of McCoughtry.McCoughtry has averaged 24.5 points in her last four games against Washington.The Mystics are mired in their worst losing streak since dropping their final nine games of August 2011, a skid which ended with an 85-81 victory over the Dream on Sept. 1. That is Washington's only win in the past six meetings.