Dream Stick to the “gameplan”

Alex Bentley of the Atlanta Dream hustling to the floor in an all out effort

Alex Bentley drained a clutch 3-point shot with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Dream a five-point lead and help Atlanta notch a 78-75 win over the Connecticut Sun on Wednesday.

The Dream (4-10) faced the Sun for the third time in a month, but this time, the result was different. Failing to execute a three-peat, the Suns are now on a five-game losing streak — the longest in over three years.  

Atlanta had four scorers in double digits by Tiffany Hayes’ game-high 18 points and center Elizabeth Williams’ 17 points. Head coach Nicki Collen praised her team for staying true to their identity the entire game.

“That looked like a Dream game from a year ago,” Collen said. “I thought that we not only got good shots but really stuck them early. You look at Elizabeth’s line, and she was 5-for-10. Her first two layups were blocked, so after those first two blocked layups she just put everything in the basket for the most part.”

Often, a team will struggle if they get off on the wrong foot. That wasn’t the case for the Dream. They started the game strong, and even when they sputtered, they found a way to finish even stronger. With substantial contributions from Renee Montgomery (12 points) and Bentley (11 points), Atlanta’s offense was very fluid as they shot 42 percent from the floor.

 “We had a really strong start, and ‘that’s something that ‘we’ve struggled with,” Williams said. “I think we all had it in our minds that when we stepped on the floor today, we were gonna get good shots and make good shots. We did a good job of setting the tone early.”

Collen added that during the Dream’s last three games, the main goal has been to stick to the plan.

“For three games in a row, our game plan — you could just check it off,” Collen said. “That’s why it’s been two of three wins and the other one we had a chance to win. We’ve stayed true to the game plan. We’ve switched where we were supposed to switch. I thought until the very end we did a really good job on the offensive glass. That’s a really good offensive rebounding team.”

Despite the Dream turning the ball over 20 times in the game, they forced the Sun to commit 19 turnovers and convert them into 13 points.

So, the Dream seemed to have it clicking for them on both ends of the floor now. They have another opportunity to prove they have figured out how to consistently win games – if they stick to the game plan.

Atlanta will host the Minnesota Lynx at State Farm Arena on Friday at 7:30. It is the second time in eight days they will battle the Lynx.

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