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The Atlanta Dream came into Tuesday night’s game versus the Connecticut Sun looking to move their record to the .500 mark. Connecticut was looking to stay undefeated on the season and stay at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The game started a little sloppy as both teams struggled to score early. Connecticut got a few second chance points off early offensive rebounds that led to open shots. The Dream’s defense would answer by causing steals and defending shots right at the rim. The Sun’s ball movement led to some clean looks early and they raced out to a 25-19 first quarter lead.
Courtney Williams paced the Sun with nine points in the first half but Connecticut as a team started by missing a bunch of wide open shots. They out rebounded the Dream 22-15 and even grabbed seven offensive rebounds to keep the game tight. Tiffany Hayes led all players in the first half scoring 16 on 6-8 shooting. She also found the range from downtown going 2-3 from behind the arc. The Dream as a whole shot 75% from three point range and turned a six point deficit at the end of the first to a six point lead at halftime.
The second half would be a back and forth battle with both teams not finding the shots they saw in the first half. Some of those earlier shots for Connecticut started dropping again and they stayed alive with the second chance buckets. The Dream kept coming at the Sun with different scorers, including Damaris Dantas 15 points off the bench. Connecticut climbed back to tie the game at 64 points a piece in the fourth, attacking the rim and getting away from shooting all those threes. The Dream were getting some of the same looks at the basket but the shots were not falling at the same rate.
Still, Atlanta’s defense kept them ahead for most of the game. They went on a 10-2 run after that tie score to open up a 74-66 lead with about two minutes left on the clock. A couple of late three pointers by the Sun would threaten the Atlanta’s victory. The Dream would connect on six straight free throws to seal the victory 82-77.
In the end Connecticut just couldn’t execute their offense, shooting 36.6% from the field and missing a whopping 25 three point attempts (7-32). Atlanta made it their plan to attack the basket and it worked like a charm. Hayes led Atlanta with a game high 22 points, adding seven rebounds and three steals. Forward Alyssa Thomas finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds to lead Connecticut. With the win, the Dream now sit two games behind Connecticut for first place in the East. It also gives head coach Nicki Collen her first win versus her former team.
The Dream racked up nine steals in the game and had several other pass deflections that went out of bounds.
Connecticut had 13 offensive rebounds as a team. Alyssa Thomas snatched six of them during her 17 rebound outburst.
Atlanta’s next game is in Las Vegas versus the Aces on Friday.