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Currie, Langhorne leads Mystics over Dream 90-81

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ATLANTA -- The Washington Mystics have home-court advantage in the WNBA playoffs for the first time thanks to a six-game winning streak to close the regular season.

Monique Currie scored 20 points, Crystal Langhorne had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Washington Mystics captured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 90-81 win over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.

"I'm extremely proud of our team from top to bottom," coach Julie Plank said. "We have great chemistry and the players are very unselfish."

The Mystics (22-12) will face the fourth-place Dream (19-15) in the first round of the WNBA playoffs. Atlanta lost six of its final seven games and was 1-3 against Washington during the regular season.

Angel McCoughtry scored 19 points, Sancho Lyttle had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Coco Miller scored 14 points for the Dream, who trailed 74-51 going into the final quarter before mounting a rally.

Washington went into the final day in a three-way tie with New York Liberty and Indiana Fever for first place in the East. The Mystics were guaranteed the top spot with a victory because they won the season series with the Liberty and owned a tiebreaker over the Fever.

The Mystics led 25-16 after the first quarter and blew the game open in the second. Katie Smith's 3-pointer put them up 52-30 with 2:23 remaining in the quarter, and Washington's lead was 54-37 at halftime.

Washington, which lost four-time All-WNBA pick Alana Beard to ankle surgery before the season, fell to 13-10 in late July before winning nine of its final 11 games.

Getting layup after layup, Washington made 12 of 21 shots in the second quarter and scored 30 points in the paint during the first half. Currie had 14 points at the half and Langhorne had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Lyttle had 11 points and McCoughtry scored 10 in the first half for the Dream, who shot just 27.8 percent in the first quarter, but didn't quit. Atlanta cut a 24-point deficit down seven with just over a minute to play.

"That's what we're going to get in the playoffs," Smith said. "Atlanta has a tough team. They showed that this season."

Atlanta won its first six games and overcame a five-game losing streak in mid-July to regain first place with a four-game winning streak. But the Dream then lost four straight and dropped the final two games after snapping the streak.

"We've got to play better defense," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "I promise you one thing, we won't play like we did in the first half.

Now they'll need to win at least one road game against the Mystics.

"It feels great to get the top seed, because it means we have home court," Langhorne said. "That's every important. It's hard to win on the road, especially in the Eastern Conference."