WASHINGTON (AP) -Coming off two straight losses and then trailing by 10 points in the second half, Atlanta Dream coach Marynell Meadors was pleased with the way her team recovered and got back on the winning track.
Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza scored 23 points each and Kelly Miller's only basket of the game was a go-ahead 3-pointer with 44.4 seconds left in overtime as the first-place Dream beat the Washington Mystics 86-79 Saturday night.
``They were very resilient tonight,' Meadors said. ``We could have just folded when we got down by 10, but we didn't. Once we got the lead, I felt we gained momentum and confidence. They saw the win right there and they took it.'
Iziane Castro Marques added 19 points and Sancho Lyttle had 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Dream (7-2). McCoughtry scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Atlanta didn't trail in overtime and Miller's tiebreaking 3-pointer from the left baseline gave the Dream the lead for good at 82-79. Castro Marques picked off an errant pass on the Mystics' ensuing possession and McCoughtry made two free throws with 21.7 seconds left.
``The moment it went to Kelly's hands we were all relaxed,' Dream guard Shalee Lehning said. ``She has taken a lot of big shots in her career and probably none bigger than that one for us right there.'
Crystal Langhorne scored 23 points to lead the Mystics (4-4). Lindsey Harding scored 14 points and Monique Currie, Nakia Sanford and Matee Ajavon added 10 each.
Washington led 60-50 in the final minute of the third quarter before de Souza had a putback with 53.6 seconds left and Castro Marques opened the fourth with a running bank shot to pull the Dream within six.
Castro Marques and McCoughtry had layups 28 seconds apart to cut Atlanta's deficit to 66-64 with just under 6 minutes to go, and McCoughtry's jumper nearly 2 minutes later gave the Dream a 71-70 lead.
Castro Marques made two free throws with 1:36 to go to push Atlanta's lead to 75-72, but Matee Ajavon's 3 about 30 seconds later tied the score.
Ajavon also hit a running floater with 57.9 seconds left in overtime to tie the score at 79, and Washington didn't score again and committed four of their 19 turnovers in the extra period.
``Coach (Julie Plank) said we need to be tougher, not hang our heads when we turn it over,' Langhorne said. ``We're doing that a little bit and we need to get out of it.'
McCoughtry led all scorers with 13 points in the first half, but she failed to score after the break until 8:11 remained in the game.
``She is such a terrific player that she can turn a game around and take it over,' Meadors said of the reigning WNBA rookie of the year, who was benched by her coach for part of the Dream's loss to Chicago on Friday for ``not giving the effort that we needed.'
Meadors said the closing stretch against Washington helped get her star back on the right track.
``(Angel) did not have a good game (Friday), nor did she have a good game at Seattle on Tuesday night,' Meadors said. ``The more she played, the better she felt. She got that out of her system and moved on.'
Using crafty footwork to find room inside and strength to muscle up shots despite contact, Langhorne converted four three-point plays, including three in the first quarter. Her layup with 3.9 seconds left in the second quarter capped a 7-0 run and gave the Mystics a 40-37 lead at halftime.
``My teammates were finding me in good positions and I really focused on finishing even with contact,' Langhorne said.
Katie Smith, who sat out the Mystics' previous game with a lower back strain, was 2 for 13 from the field and finished with four points.
The Associated Press News Service
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