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Mystics routed by Dream

Mystics routed by Dream

ATLANTA (AP) -- After a few days of turmoil, the Atlanta Dream finally had something to feel good about Thursday night.

Erika DeSouza had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Atlanta dominated the second half and the Dream defeated the Washington Mystics 82-59 to give coach Fred Williams his first victory.

"Everything Fred talks about is teamwork," DeSouza said. "That is the way we have to win games."

Lindsay Harding had 16 points with five assists and Tiffany Hayes scored 15 points for the Dream (13-13), who were again without WNBA scoring leader Angel McCoughtry. Atlanta outscored the Mystics 51-28 after trailing 33-31 at halftime.

"We got Fred's first win and we're happy," said Sancho Lyttle, who added 11 points and nine rebounds. "We've going to take this one game at a time. We don't know what is going to happen."

McCoughtry was suspended indefinitely for a violation of unspecified team policy after Williams took over as general manager and coach from Marynell Meadors before Tuesday's home loss to Tulsa.

McCoughtry had been involved in a conflict with Meadors and sat out two games for personal reasons before returning Saturday against Minnesota. Meadors was fired on Monday.

Williams said McCoughtry's status hadn't changed.

"I'm happy about the game," he said. "I really haven't though too much about that."

Monique Currie had 14 points and Crystal Langhorne scored 13 for Washington (5-20). The Mystics are 1-6 since the Olympic break.

Atlanta scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to go up 67-48 after taking charge in the third quarter, when the Dream made their first six shots and outscored Washington 26-15.

"We made some adjustments in the second half and it generated some good offense for us and we created some good things defensively by getting out in the passing lanes," Williams said. "We've got to continue that."

Atlanta had 24 fast-break points to eight for Washington.

"They came at us, were physical and took it to us," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "Once they made the run, it snowballed."

Washington led 33-31 at halftime thanks to a 14-6 spurt to end the second quarter. Longhorn and Currie each had 10 first-half points for the Mystics, while DeSouza scored nine for the Dream.

"We slowed them down in transition, which is what they are good at," Currie said of the first half. ". In the second half, the game got away from us."

The Dream couldn't hold a 17-point second-quarter lead and lost to Tulsa 84-80 in Williams' debut on Tuesday. It was the Shocks' first road victory.

"It kind of flip-flopped," Williams said of the Washington victory.

"We've been flat in the third quarter," said Arminite Price, who had three of the Dream's 12 steals. "We wanted to come out with a spark and let it carry over."

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.

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