WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tiffany Hayes and Alex Bentley each scored 11 points but the Atlanta Dream fell to the Washington Mystics, 96-75, Saturday night at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
Marie Gulich, who saw extended minutes over the evening, recorded career-highs with nine points and five rebounds. Brittney Sykes added nine points and three rebounds for Atlanta.
Atlanta created numerous opportunities on offense, grabbing a season-high 12 offensive rebounds and scoring 20 points on the second-chance possessions but it was not enough to solidify a victory. GÃ¼lich was responsible for four of the offensive boards, which was also a new career best.
The Dream return home Thursday, June 6 when they host the Las Vegas Aces at State Farm Arena beginning at 7 p.m. The game will air nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Atlanta Dream Notes
– Atlanta started Renee Montgomery, Tiffany Hayes, Brittney Sykes, Jessica Breland and Elizabeth Williams.
– After being slowed by an ankle injury to start the season, Tiffany Hayes topped double-figures for the first time in 2019 (11 points).
– Renee Montgomery has connected on at least one (1) three-point field goal in every game this season.
– Marie GÃ¼lich finished with new career-highs in points (9) and rebounds (5).
– Alex Bentley finished with her first double-digit scoring effort of the season (11).
– The Dream recorded a new season-high with 12 offensive rebounds.
– All 11 active Atlanta Dream players saw minutes in the game.
– The Dream move to 24-23 all-time against the Mystics and 11-12 in Washington during the regular season.
– Atlanta is now 1-2 on the season and 0-1 on the road.
DREAM HEAD COACH NICKI COLLEN
On the Dream’s upcoming stretch:
“I think we have to go back to the basics. I think if I’m guilty of anything so far, it’s that we spent so much time putting in our base and really repping and drilling – suddenly we’re in year two so we moved faster through things. Maybe with four news guys in the locker room and out there – and certainly that it’s not their fault, because we’ve had breakdowns one through 11. I think we have to go back to repping some of the basics and make sure we’re sound in ball screens, pin-downs, flare screens.
On the Mystics performance tonight:
“Give Washington credit, they made everything they threw up. [Tianna] Hawkins made her two threes in the first half, [Elena] Delle Donne went half an hour without missing a shot – and they weren’t easy, some of them were, but she was hitting them off one foot, going right [or] going left. They were juiced up, they had a week off and got to open their new building, and it showed. They got off to a good start. [Ariel] Atkins is First Team All-WNBA every time she plays against the Dream. We have to do a better job of guarding her when we match up with them in the future.”
DREAM GUARD RENEE MONTGOMERY
On how she is measuring the Dream’s growth this season:
“We have to learn from our mistakes. Whatever we did last game, we may have corrected something and then a new problem arises. Really, we just can’t continue to make the same mistakes.”
On the defense being the team’s identity:
“We have to get back to that. Right now, teams are getting their first option. We’re not making teams go into their second or third options. We have to make it difficult on teams. Somebody shooting 61 percent on us is not acceptable.”
On the Dream’s upcoming games against the Sun and Aces:
“Going into every game is going to be a dogfight. There are no teams where you look at the schedule and say, “Oh, that’s an easy win.’ There’s no teams like that in the WNBA anymore. It’s more the same. It’s not even about the other teams anymore, it’s about us getting back to what we do, our defense, how we play [and] our identity.”
DREAM GUARD TIFFANY HAYES
On positives from their first three games:
“That it’s early in the season. We can take them with a grain of salt and learn from them. We have a couple days to get our bodies right, get our minds right. Like I said, it’s early. We were .500 last year midway through the season and we turned up and went on the run. Hopefully it won’t take that long this year. I won’t say we have time because we need to buckle down now, but we have time.”
On the first game in the Entertainment and Sports Arena:
“It’s not bad in there, I like the atmosphere. It’s small, so there’s a big fanbase in there. The fans got loud. I love the area we’re in, it’s beautiful. I wish I could’ve explored a little bit more, but we just had a game yesterday, so I was in my room stuck in my bed. I love the area and the gym is pretty nice.”
MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT
On the game:
“It was a good way to christen the building. I guess the fans got to go home with Chick-Fil-A too, they got a lot of stuff. It was a great start. We had a lot of people play well. We shot the ball really well, obviously. So, I don’t think shooting will be an issue as far as the sight lines or anything, I think we have that part figured out. I thought we set the tone defensively in the first half. We made shots tough for them. Obviously, they played last night, and we tried to take their legs from them with our pressure and with our transition back at them, make them have to work. I think we did what we were supposed to do.”
On the team’s first game at Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA):
“We had never been on our court until this morning. So, it was kind of fun for our players to see it and get out there and get going. It’s kind of funny. I said to our coaches this is with Atlanta, even though its back-to-back, they kind of played in a more sedate environment last night. I thought maybe our crowd was going to get them hype too which lasted a little bit. I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and then you kind of just forget it and it’s a regular day. Then all of a sudden, you’re at the shootaround this morning and you’re like, “Oh, OK, we’re actually going to play here now.”
On Ariel Atkins, Myisha Hines-Allen, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough:
“They are our youngest ones and they have stepped up. One of the things in the offseason that we said is that we need to find some players who can take pressure off our veterans and so far, they have done it really, really well.”
MYSTICS GUARD KRISTI TOLIVER
On tonight’s game and if it felt like opening night:
“I mean, we knew that we were going to play a tough team in Atlanta. We didn’t have our best effort and have everyone in our opener against Connecticut. We were able to have a little extended training camp with another week to prepare for Atlanta, and the rest of the year, and I think it showed. We were able to play with one another more and play more five-on-five, and just familiarize us with one another. It certainly showed tonight.”
On the atmosphere at ESA:
“It was great, it will truly be a home court advantage for us. It was a lot of fun. Everyone was energized and they were into it, and that helps. When you’re out there playing you feed off the crowd and for us, we were able to maintain a high energy for the majority of the game and a lot of that was due to our fans.”
MYSTICS FORWARD ELENA DELLE DONNE
On if she’s going to wear the brace all season:
“Hopefully I don’t need it all season. I feel comfortable and a lot more confident in it. If it’s going to give me that peace of mind, then I’ll stay in as long as I need to.”
On the energy in the building:
“It felt like the playoffs, like we got right back to where we were (last season). It was crazy energy, and this place feels so much like home already. It’s such an advantage, so that’s huge for us.”
On Ariel Atkins tonight:
“…She gets us all going. She’s just such a great person and player. So, it’s great to see her excited and celebrating all of her hard work because she works her butt off.”
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