Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta
WASHINGTON -- Sancho Lyttle hit a 13-footer with less than a second remaining to give the Atlanta Dream a 72-70 comeback win over the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.
Angel McCoughtry scored 19 points for Atlanta (10-11), which has now won seven of its last nine. Erika DeSouza added 18 points and 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.
Matee Ajavon scored 17 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter, but couldn't prevent the Mystics from falling to their second last-second loss in three games.
"They did fight hard and probably should've won the game," said Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors, whose team entered Tuesday tied with Chicago for the fourth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. "But crazy things happen in this league and you never know when your opportunity is going to present itself."
Crystal Langhorne added 23 points, as Washington (4-15) put together a 19-6 run during the fourth quarter to take a 67-61 lead, only to see Atlanta close the game out on a 11-3 spurt.
Lyttle, in her second game back in the starting lineup after gradually returning from a back injury, hit the game-winner after catching a kickout feed from Armintie Price.
The Mystics had their own chance to take the lead, calling timeout with about nine seconds left, just a fraction before Ajavon lost the handle on the ball. But DeMya Walker was called for a double-dribble while driving the lane on the ensuing possession, setting up Lyttle's game-winner.
"I remember sitting next to (Lyttle) on the bench, with under a minute, saying if you're open, you take your shot," said Atlanta point guard Lindsey Harding, who herself missed the entire second half with an injured left hip. "She took it. She was comfortable, confident, and it went in."
Price had hit the game-tying layup in transition with 15 seconds left off McCoughtry's steal and assist. The Mystics had a chance to regain the lead after taking a timeout with about nine seconds to play, but DeMya Walker was called for a double dribble while driving the lane.
McCoughtry and Iziane Castro Marques also hit 3-pointers in the final minute, part of a game-winning run that all came after Ajavon's third 3-pointer of the quarter made it 67-61 with 1:49 to play.
"It hurts when you keep losing games like this," said Langhorne, whose team also suffered a 61-59 loss at home against Indiana on July 29, thanks to Shannon Bobbitt's buzzer-beating layup. "I guess it's going to give us a great hunger to win the next one."
Atlanta leads the season series 2-1, with all three games won by the road team.