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WNBA: Mystics pull into tie for 8th, end Dream’s playoff hopes

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Tina Charles continued her case for WNBA Most Valuable Player with 26 points and 16 rebounds as the Washington Mystics snapped a three-game losing streak with an 82-74 win over the visiting Atlanta Dream on Friday.

Washington (11-18) moved into a tie with the New York Liberty (11-18) for the eighth and final WNBA playoff spot with three games remaining. The Los Angeles Sparks (10-19) are just a game behind New York and Washington.

The result eliminated the Dream (7-22) from playoff contention.

Charles, who leads the league in scoring at 24 points per game, powered a pivotal second quarter for the Mystics by putting up 11 of the team’s points during a 14-2 run.

Theresa Plaisance added 14 points off the Washington bench. Natasha Cloud added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Erica McCall chipped in eight points and eight rebounds. Charles and Plaisance combined to shoot 6-for-13 from 3-point range.

Washington outscored Atlanta 24-17 in the period and never relinquished the lead. The Mystics’ advantage swelled to as many as 14 points in the fourth.

The balanced support around Charles was much-needed for a Mystics lineup rendered thin with the absences of Elena Delle Donne (back), Myisha Hines-Allen (illness) and Ariel Atkins (personal reasons).

Atlanta, which lost for the 13th time in 14 games since the start of July, continued its recent trend of losing dropping single-digit-point decisions. Friday’s loss was the fifth defeat in the Dream’s past six games decided by fewer than 10 points, and the sixth straight single-digit-margin game over that stretch.

Atlanta started strong behind Courtney Williams, who finished with 23 points. Monique Billings scored 14 points and chipped in 10 rebounds for the Dream, Tiffany Hayes added 13 points and Aari McDonald knocked down three 3-pointers en route to 11 points.

Bench points made the difference, with Washington’s reserves outscoring Atlanta’s 24-11.

–Field Level Media

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