Atlanta, GA — The Atlanta Dream was looking to sweep a four-game series when they took down the Connecticut Sun 87-73. But for the Sun, fighting through the game was the goal.
“Atlanta’s a tough team,” said Sun head coach Curt Miller, “That’s how they beat teams, they out tough them, they outwork them,”
That held true in the first quarter that starred Olympic gold medalist Angel McCoughtry who snatched 11 points, and 19 on the game. Connecticut’s first quarter felt like they had something to prove, and they did -- that they’re not the worst team in the Eastern Conference. The Dream led the Sun 20-17 at the bottom of the first.
Something clicked as the Sun’s defense tightened up, but it wasn’t enough to stop the unrelenting Dream. Bria Holmes fired up Atlanta with a fast break layup, followed by Reshanda Gray’s layup to expand their lead 32-21 with 5:45 left.
While Atlanta led going into the third, they didn’t initially play like it. Connecticut looked refreshed, especially when Alex Bentley sank an easy three-pointer at the 9:00 mark, and Chiney Ogwumike’s layup.
McCoughtry scanned the court before giving it to Tiffany Hayes who closed the deal with a jumper to extend their lead 49-42. Still, Connecticut wasn’t playing defeated even if they trailed by nine points at the bottom of the third, 61-52.
The fourth quarter was a matter of going through the motions for Atlanta as Connecticut continued to fight on. McCoughtry widened the gap by 10 with a layup at 7:06.
Connecticut looked tired with a little over 2:30 left in the game, but Atlanta was calm and never failed to call Connecticut on their slip-ups, like when McCoughtry stole the ball for a layup.
Atlanta has two more home matches before they take the road, and Dream head coach Michael Cooper said now is the time to play consistent and road games are places to take chances.
McCoughtry couldn’t have agreed more: “Seattle’s playing good…we’ve got to come in with a game plan.”
The Dream play the Storm on Sunday September 4th at Phillips Arena. Tip off is set for 6p.m EST.