June 17, 2014

An increase in scoring has propelled the Atlanta Dream to one of the best starts in franchise history, and Tiffany Hayes has played a significant role.

Following one of her best performances of the season, Hayes looks to lead the Dream to another win Sunday against the scuffling Washington Mystics.

Atlanta (6-1) has averaged 85.7 points in its best start since a 10-1 mark in 2013, up from 77.8 last season, and Hayes has increased her scoring from 12.9 to 16.7 per game. The guard tallied a team-best 23 points in an 83-77 win at Connecticut on Friday and once again displayed a fine shooting touch by knocking down six of 10 attempts, as well as 11 of 13 from the free-throw line.

Hayes is shooting 58.1 percent, a huge leap from the 41.6 in her first four seasons.

The Dream, of course, have gotten their usual high-scoring efforts from Angel McCoughtry, averaging 19.3 points. Her 21 in Friday's win gave her a combined 69 points on 52.1 percent shooting in the past three of Atlanta's five consecutive victories.

The Dream open a season-high four-game homestand looking to send Washington (2-6) to a fourth consecutive defeat. The Mystics were swept in back-to-back matchups with Chicago and lost 98-72 on the road Friday, getting outshot 54.9-36.7 percent and outrebounded 37-25.

Tayler Hill, averaging a team-best 15.3 points, had another sub-par shooting night in going 3 for 11 and scoring 10 points. She's averaged 10.7 points while shooting 26.3 percent in her last three games after putting up 18 per game in her first five contests.

Atlanta swept last season's four matchups with Washington by a combined 14 points and have won nine of the past 11, including playoffs. The Dream have taken the past five home meetings.

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