Atlanta, GA — Although having already clinched a berth in the 2016 WNBA Playoffs, the Atlanta Dream knew they couldn’t afford to lose focus and fall down the ladder with their final three games of the regular season.
And even though Atlanta was without their best player, Angel McCoughtry, who was suspended for tonight, the WNBA’s worst team was in town and ready to battle.
Despite having an atrocious record of 6-25, and being eliminated from any type of postseason, the San Antonio Stars were shining brightly in the first quarter. They came out with guns blazing, as they scored 22 points, with nine being from Moriah Jefferson alone -- the team was off to a solid start.
After scoring a measly eight points in the first quarter, the Dream came alive in the second, and really picked up their offensive play. One reason was Bria Holmes, who might be listed as a rookie, but hasn’t been playing like one as of late. She recently was inserted in the starting five, and the West Virginia rookie has literally took off with her new place in the lineup.
“My teammates have been encouraging me, and while we were on break, I spent a lot of time in the gym,” said Holmes. “Getting my confidence and going out and trying to be consistent every night has made a big difference.”
In the Dream’s last seven out of nine games, not only has she been a contributing factor, she’s been an essential component. And tonight wasn’t any different, as she fought off her defenders, nailing long threes and playing with a tenacity that spurred Atlanta going into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be a battle. Both teams were playing with more energy looking to boost the overall effort of their respective teams. After a struggle offensively in the first quarter, Atlanta posted 23 points in the third quarter to take the lead heading into the fourth, 48-47.
In the final quarter, it was Astou Ndour who soared to new heights, as she scored 10 of her 20 points to assist in the final defeat of the Dream. She showed her versatility offensively by scoring in the paint, as well as stepping outside the arc and draining three triples.
After splitting their first two meetings this season, the Stars managed to pull out the win over the Dream.
“This was kind of our Finals,” said head coach of the Stars, Dan Hughes.
As for the Dream, rookie Holmes’ outstanding performance wasn’t enough tonight.
“This was a loss that kind of hurt more than any other this season. We could have put some distance between those other teams fighting for the fourth seed, but I’m still proud of our team,” stated Dream coach Michael Cooper.
As the Dream finishes their regular season and prepares for the playoffs, the Stars will end their season with a road game against the Los Angeles Sparks and then back home with the Phoenix Mercury.