It looked good from the start the Dream won the opening tip and got an immediate score on an easy layup by Elizabeth Williams. But they gave up too many easy baskets themselves as the Spark outscored them 16-6 on fast break points in the first half. Sancho Lyttle returned from FIBA EuroBasket where she led Team Spain to win the championship. Unfortunately, she was ineffective due to early foul trouble picking up her third by the four-minute mark in the second quarter. Head Coach Michael (Coop-A-Loop) Cooper made the adjustment prohibiting any fast break points in the second half. It was like trying to hold water in a paper bag you can support one area but the longer the water sits it causes other areas to deteriorate flooding the floor.
In this case, the Sparks starting hitting outside shots and the Dream defense secure both boundaries allowing Candace Parker to breakthrough with a double-double scoring 21points, grabbing 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Chelsea Gray contributed 20 points connecting 3-5 from three-point range to help the defending WNBA Champions wax the Dream 85-76. This was their first win in Atlanta since August 23, 2009, and their seventh straight victory giving them a record of 11-3 on the season.
At one point the Sparks were up by twenty give the Dream credit their pride saved them from an embarrassing loss, at least they made it respectful going down the stretch.
Tiffany Hayes, the leading vote-getter for the guard position for the Eastern All-Stars led the dream with 18 points and 6 assists before she fouled out. Should this continue, she will make her first appearance in the prestigious game?
Brittany Sykes made the most of her first starting role in an effort to shake up the offense by scoring 13 points 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
On starting Sykes Coach Cooper
“(Sykes) is a starter in this league, and I thought she played extremely well. We played her at the point, and that’s not something we’ve been practicing, but when your team is in a losing slump, we need everybody stepping up.”
Elizabeth Williams added16 points and 5 assists while Holmes contributed10 points and 3 rebounds. Four Dream players scored double figures but when you are losing by 17 (71-54) to start the fourth quarter the hole is just too deep to climb out of. Williams said it best.
“You have to give Los Angeles credit, they hit a lot of tough shots especially in the first half, a lot of contested shots, and I think we got ourselves into a hole that was a little big. It’s hard when you’re playing against a team that has a championship. They know how to win these types of games.”
The Dream (5-7) are on a three-game losing streak in a nightmarish month of June where they only won one out of six surely they are looking for a better July.
Interesting Facts of the Game
Brittney Sykes recorded her first WNBA start.
Sparks showed why they are the best shooting team 52% from the field
Neither team scored any second chance points
Dream met their team goal of 20 or more assists with 25
Sparks 16 points off fast break points made the difference