The Washington Times - August 30, 2012, 10:40AM

With just 12 teams in the WNBA, sometimes there isn’t a lot of space between the top and the bottom of the standings. Just a week ago, after defeating the Chicago Sky at home in an overtime thriller, the Washington Mystics still had a shot at sneaking into playoff position.

Unfortunately, the Mystics (5-19) have lost three straight since then, and remain where they have been for nearly all of this season – at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Last season’s team went a dismal 6-28. With 10 games left in the season, the Mystics are on pace to finish with the same record.

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On Thursday, the Mystics will try and end the losing skid against the Atlanta Dream (12-13), and have a better than average chance to steal a win over a team that’s currently in turmoil.

On Monday, the team fired head coach and general manager Marynell Meadors, who had been with the expansion Dream since the beginning. Meadors was hired in 2007 to build the franchise, and succeeded to the tune of two straight appearances in the WNBA finals 2010 and 2011.

Meadors, who was a former assistant coach for the Mystics (2005-2007), was one of Team USA’s assistant coaches at the Olympic games in London, and helped guide the women’s team to a gold medal. Ironically, Meadors’ dismissal came on her 69th birthday. Long time assistant coach Fred Williams was promoted to head coach and general manager.

The Dream will also be without Angel McCoughtry, who has been suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules. McCoughtry leads the league in scoring (22.2), and was also a member of team USA. But McCoughtry had a strained relationship with Meadors, and with some of her teammates as well.

McCoughtry did not make the trip to Washington last Friday when the Dream came to town and defeated the Mystics, 81-69. The Mystics will face the Dream two more times this season after Thursday night’s game - Sept. 9th on the road and Sept. 14th at home.

The Mystics most recent loss was Tuesday night against Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever.

“Well, you know I thought we played hard and it was a physical game,” Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said.

“They made their run in the third quarter and we couldn’t close it. We talked about defending the three point shot. We didn’t execute it well. They had 10 threes. We had different combinations on the floor and we are trying to get used to it.”

The Mystics also made a roster move on Sunday, releasing Natasha Lacy and signing Iziane Castro Marquez, who sat out the first half of the WNBA season to play for her native Brazil during the Olympics.