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Dream-Sun Preview

AP - Sports

The Atlanta Dream are struggling to the point that making the playoffs can no longer be considered a given, while the last-place Connecticut Sun are running out of time for a postseason push.

One of these teams will end a three-game slide when the Sun host the Dream in the opener of a home-and-home set Wednesday night.

Atlanta (11-8) looked like a contender during a league-best 10-1 start, but catching Chicago for first place in the Eastern Conference is likely no longer a priority for the Dream, who have a three-game lead on fifth-place New York for the final postseason spot.

Connecticut (6-15) is three games behind the Liberty and 3 1/2 behind fourth-place Washington. The Sun would have been closer if not for a 74-63 defeat to the Mystics on Sunday which prompted a closed-door meeting afterward.

"It's hard for everybody," coach Anne Donovan said. "I'm no different than anybody in that locker room. Nobody likes to lose."

The Dream, who host the Sun on Friday, have taken the first two meetings. They won 78-77 at Connecticut on June 23 and their lone victory in this woeful eight-game stretch was by a 74-65 score over the Sun on July 24.

Angel McCoughtry scored a season-high 34 points in the first win and 22 in the second.

McCoughtry scored at least 30 for the second time in three games with exactly that number in an 88-82 loss to New York on Sunday. Atlanta was outrebounded 43-30.

"I just thought tonight we didn't get the loose balls and rebounds," coach Fred Williams said. "New York did."

The Dream overcame a 44-31 rebounding deficit in the first meeting with the Sun before recovering for a 44-40 edge in the next matchup.

Reigning league MVP Tina Charles is second in the WNBA with 13.0 rebounds per game, and is averaging 16.5 points and 14.0 boards in the season series.

Connecticut All-Star guard Allison Hightower has struggled versus Atlanta, averaging 8.0 points and 19.2 percent shooting against it compared to her career-best season marks of 12.8 points and 42.4 percent from the field.

The Sun are 4 of 24 on 3-pointers in the season series with Hightower - who leads the team with 66 attempts - going 1 of 7.

Connecticut shot 38.5 percent overall and made two of 12 from 3-point range Sunday.

"I thought we had great looks and people put themselves in position to shoot the shot that they practice,'' said Charles, who had 18 points and 12 boards. "Sometimes we just weren't making it."

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