Dream cruises past mystics

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Dream cruises past mystics

ATLANTA (AP) -- Lindsey Harding and Armintie Price made sure that the Atlanta Dream bounced back from a tough double-overtime loss in their previous game. Harding had 15 points and nine assists, Price scored nine of her 15 in the first quarter and the Dream led by 30 points while cruising to a 93-68 victory over the Washington Mystics on Sunday. Atlanta (16-14) shot 58 percent, had 29 assists on 40 baskets and scored scored 52 points in the paint. On Friday night, the Dream squandered a 25-point halftime lead against defending champion Minnesota before losing 97-93 in two overtimes. "We're at our best when we share the ball," Harding said. "We didn't play badly at Minnesota. We played well. We wanted to keep that same level of play and the same intensity." Price believes the Dream, who have reached the WNBA Finals in each of the last two years before getting swept in the title round, can take something positive from the tough loss. "We're trying to win a championship," Price said. "We know that we have to learn from every game and keep getting better. We want to get off to good start in every game and that's what we were able to do." Erika DeSouza had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and 10 players scored for Atlanta. Cathrine Kraayeveld had 11 points, Tiffany Hayes added 10 with seven assists. Angel McCoughry, who came in averaging a league-leading 21.1 points per game and had 30 in the loss to the Lynx, scored eight against Washington. "That game on the road at Minnesota was a good proving factor for us," coach Fred Williams said. "We wanted to come out and play hard again." Crystal Langhorne and Noelle Quinn scored 12 points each for the league-worst Mystics (5-24), who lost their eighth straight. Monique Currie and Jasmine Thomas added 10 points each, and Ashley Robinson grabbed 13 rebounds. Washington committed 19 turnovers while shooting 37 percent. "I think it was some mental lapses, especially in the first half," Washington coach Trudi Lacey said. "Just not getting back on defense. We talk about it as part of our game plan and for whatever reason we didn't do it. Against a good playoff team like that you obviously can't make those kind of mistakes." The Dream shot 61 percent in the first half and led 44-20 in the second quarter before settling for a 46-27 halftime lead. Atlanta had 26 points in the paint and scored 14 on the fast break. Washington shot just 28 percent in the first half and committed 12 turnovers. Atlanta made nine of its first 11 shots and led 20-9 before Washington cut the margin to 22-15 at the end of the first quarter. But the Dream went on a 22-2 run in the second quarter to go up 44-20. Price made her first four shots and had nine of her 11 first-half points in the opening quarter. Harding had six assists in the first half. "We wanted to set the tone early," Williams said. "We saw a lot of combination passes, especially in the first half." The Mystics cut Atlanta's lead to 60-45, but the Dream ended the third quarter on an 8-0 run go up by 23 points going into the final quarter. The lead reached 30 points at 88-58. Atlanta beat Washington twice last month without McCoughtry, including an 82-59 home victory on Aug. 30. The teams meet for the final time at Washington on Friday.

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Camden Yards earns top spot in top 100 stadium experiences

Camden Yards earns top spot in top 100 stadium experiences

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md. grabbed the top spot in a list of the top 100 stadium experiences of 2016. 

There are very few stadiums in sports that you could even argue offer a backdrop that's as aesthetically pleasing or as unique as Camden Yards. The long brick train warehouse in right field along with the view of the Baltimore skyline in center field, gives Camden Yards as cozy of a feeling that you can get while at a sporting event. Add in the fact that O's fans are always into the games and have many gameday traditions, Camden Yards' number one ranking is perfectly justified. Just writing this makes me long for some crab fries and a cold beverage while watching the Orioles on a Saturday afternoon in the summer. 

Checking in at number 14 on the list is the stadium that's right next door to Camden Yards, and that's M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens. This stadium was ranked the best stadium experience in the NFL, beating out Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Lambeau Field for the top spot. 

Navy Marine Corp Memorial Stadium, home of the Naval Academy's football team, entered the rankings at number 49 on the list. Go to a game at Navy Marine Corp Memorial Stadium and you'll see some good football in a place that is full of history and patriotism. 

The final mid-atlantic area stadium that made the list was Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegal Center in Richmond. Home of the VCU basketball team, the Siegal Center has developed into a really tough place for teams to play. Since the Rams run to the Final Four in 2011 and the development of the basketball program under former coach Shaka Smart, VCU has turned into a perrenially good college basketball team. Couple a good team with a loud, intimate 7,500 seat stadium and you've got yourself a really cool venue to watch college basketball.  

Related: Top 25 college football uniforms 

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Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

A couple of days have passed, but Alex Ovechkin is still miffed about the multiple missed calls in Monday’s 8-7 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.

Speaking after Wednesday’s practice in Arlington, the Caps’ captain specifically referenced two of them—Patric Hornqvist’s high hit on T.J. Oshie and Sidney Crosby’s blatant trip on him in overtime.

“If it’s there, it’s there,” Ovechkin said, asked about remaining composed when addressing referees. “Like even last game, how many calls they miss?” Before four-on-four, it was a straight headshot on Osh and no call.”

The Capitals were leading 3-0 when Hornqvist forearmed Oshie’s jaw in the corner, briefly sending the first line winger to the dressing room. Following the ensuing scrum, Hornqvist and Daniel Winnik were sent off for roughing, and the Penguins struck twice as the sides skated four-on-four.

“Just call it,” Ovechkin said. “You killed the game and killed our momentum.”

Ovechkin did not address reporters after the game and the Caps were off on Tuesday.

The referees at PPG Paints Arena were Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran.

Ovechkin also did not like the non-call on Crosby, who used his stick and skate to trip him as he carried the puck with speed early in the extra session. Conor Sheary ended the game moments later.

“I would say it was a pretty bad situation out there,” Ovechkin said. “In overtime, the same. There was clear trip and no call, but everybody makes mistakes.”

He added: “It’s emotion moments. I think everybody get involved, everybody has emotions. Again, if it’s [a] 100-pecent call and nobody make a whistle or don’t make a call, of course everybody going to be mad and sad about it.”

Another missed call that had an impact on the game arrived early in the third period. As Karl Alzner went to play the puck along the boards in the Caps' offensive zone, Bryan Rust cross checked the defenseman, creating a turnover. Rust gathered the puck, passed it to Sheary, who then found Crosby, who sniped a shot past Philipp Grubauer to make it 7-5.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz said he did not discuss the missed calls with the league. He also said it was his team’s execution four-on-four—and not its mindset after the missed call on Oshie—that sparked the Penguins’ comeback.

“I think you would lose your mind if you worried about every call,” Trotz said. “For the most part, I stand behind the referees. I think our sport is extremely difficult [to officiate]. It can be very frustrating. It’s easy for coaches and fans and media to look at plays in slow motion—without trying to avoid behind hit by pucks and people—and staying out of everybody’s way and making calls. Once-in-a-while [calls] are going to be missed. And when they’re missed at times of opportunity for the opposition, you can get frustrated. But I don’t lose too much sleep over it because I know I can’t change it.”

Related: Trotz doesn't think loss to Pittsburgh will send Capitals into a slump