New Atlanta head coach Nicki Collen and her Dream team knocked off her former boss and close friend — Curt Miller — and her former team — the Connecticut Sun — Tuesday night 82-77, handing the Sun their first loss of the season.
Tiffany Hayes led the way for the Dream finishing 7-13 from the field with 22 points. Damiris Dantas added 15 while Renee Montgomery chipped in 12 to push the Dream to an even 3-3 on the season.
Down the stretch the Dream came up big with an Angel McCoughtry jumper with 37 seconds remaining to go up 76-69. Followed by a big time three by Shekinna Stricklen with 22 seconds remaining and a four free throws to ultimately run away with the win.
The Sun are the best rebounding team in the league holding a +9.7 rebounding margin over their opponents per contest and averaging 9.3 offensive rebounds a game. The most critical key to the game was keeping the rebounding margin close. Although the Sun ultimately still out rebounded the Dream 47-36, it was kept close at half and into the third quarter, just enough to keep Atlanta within striking distance.
The ultimate difference in the game came down to shooting percentages. The Sun are one of the highest field goal percentage teams in the league at 48.2 percent and average 94 points per game. Atlanta held the Sun to 36.6 percent shooting on the game and 17 points below their average, the worst they have shot so far this season.
What's incredible to note is how many more possessions/shot attempts Connecticut got compared to the Dream. Connecticut went 30-82 from the field versus Atlanta's 28-64, that's 18 more chances to put the ball in the basket. Atlanta came into the game as the worst shooting team in the league at 38.5 percent, but were able to shoot the ball well enough at 43.8 percent and 50 percent from the three point line to pull off the upset. Atlanta has won every game so far this season when have been able to shoot the ball over 40 percent.
Another notable stat was the difference in fouls. The Dream committed 17 fouls versus the Sun's 26, getting them to the charity stripe 13 more times than Connecticut finishing 20-27 for 74 percent as a team. Ultimately helping to alleviate those extra shot attempts the Sun get.
It certainly helps Collen has worked under Miller and understands his basketball mind. One thing is for sure, when the Dream can shoot the ball just slightly better, they can win games. They will get a chance to continue to add to the win column on Friday, June 8th as they head to Las Vegas to take on the Aces at 3:00pm ET. It can be see on WNBA League Pass.
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