Atlanta, GA -- The Atlanta Dream had a second shot to prove themselves to the Chicago Sky Sunday at Philips Arena for their opener in the historic 20th season of the WNBA. The Dream lost 95-75 against the Sky in a preseason in conference rivalry matchup. However, the Dream came around and took down the Sky 87-81 today.
"It was definitely about defense. This is probably the best shooting team you're going to see this year in the league," Atlanta coach Michael Cooper said in reference to the key to winning today.
Atlanta went 0-4 in the preseason, but that was with two of their five starters missing from the court. Angel McCoughtry and Sancho Lyttle were competing overseas for their international teams in the postseason.
The Dream and the Sky both came into the game with a 1-1 record.
When it came to today's contest against the Sky, Atlanta was certainly looking to hash out some old beef from the 2015 season. The Dream went 1-3 in four games against Chicago last season. However, it should be noted that all four games were decided by five points or less and two were decided by two points or fewer.
The Sky soared above the clouds by eight points with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter. The 2015 MVP, Elena Delle Donne, quickly widened the gap by 10 points with a three. Delle Donne added a career-high 45 points against the Dream in the 2015 season. With 16 points, she didn't quite match that performance.
Bria Holmes and Tiffany Hayes looked to close the gap for Atlanta with a pair of two-pointers making it 16-22 with 1:48 on the clock. Carla Cortijo added a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter. However, Chicago still remained in the lead, 26-24.
The Sky remained on top the entire first quarter. Chicago coach, Pokey Chatman, looked thrilled from the sidelines with Cappie Pondexter's nine points.
Atlanta was looking to reach their "Dream" coming into the second quarter. With a two-pointer, Lyttle gave Atlanta their first lead, 30-28.
After tying it up three times, the Sky won back the lead. Chicago led 41-37 at halftime.
It was certainly a matchup between two 2016 Olympic athletes: McCoughtry and Delle Donne each had 11 points three minutes into the third quarter.
With under five minutes on the clock in the third, the Dream pulled through to get back on the board with the help of Cortijo and McCoughtry giving them their first lead in the second half, 55-54.
Atlanta heard the crowd, "Scream for the Dream!"
The Sky and the Dream tossed the lead back and forth the end of the third by only a point or two every time. The Dream were reaching for the stars in the final minute of the quarter with a 62-58 lead.
McCoughtry made her free throws giving Atlanta a 64-58 lead at the end of the third. She surpassed her 2015 average of 20 points per game with 21 points against the Sky.
"My team depends on me to put up numbers," McCoughtry said, "But I feel like we have a team now that I don't have to do so much now, and it takes a lot of pressure off."
The Dream were on top of the Sky 74-69 with five minutes left in the game. Layshia Clarendon's three from the corner gave Atlanta a six-point lead. The Dream captured Clarendon from the Indiana Fever in exchange for the 2017 second round draft pick.
Erika de Souza picked up her fourth foul for Chicago. De Souza did not live up to her expectations in her second return to Atlanta. De Souza was a three-time WNBA All-Star while playing for the Dream.
When asked what contributed to the Sky's loss today, coach Pokey Chatman joked, "How much tape you got?"
The Sky take on the Los Angeles Sparks back at home, while the Dream will hit the road to match up against the New York Liberty on Tuesday.