Sun-Dream Preview

The Associated PressAugust 15, 2013

While the slumping Atlanta Dream were hoping to get back on track with two games against the Eastern Conference's last-place team, the best they can hope for is a split.

The Dream try to avoid losing five straight for the first time in five years when they conclude a home-and-home series against the visiting Sun on Friday night.

Atlanta (11-9) has dropped eight of nine, including its last four while allowing an average of 84.5 points. The Dream haven't lost five in a row since going 4-30 during their inaugural 2008 season.

"A lot of things have changed," coach Fred Williams said. "One factor is injuries. The other is being on the road a lot. (There's) been maybe two games in 30 days at home. That's a factor.

"We just have to get back in the scheme of things."

Continuing to play without former All-Star Sancho Lyttle (foot), the Dream saw their woes continue Wednesday in an 88-86 loss at Connecticut. WNBA leading scorer Angel McCoughtry stayed hot with 33 points as the Dream outscored the Sun 52-34 in the paint, but they came up short after Tan White made the winning jumper with 0.5 seconds left.

"We knew we wanted to run all the time off the clock to leave them no shot," said White, who scored a season-high 15 points while helping fill in for injured guard Allison Hightower. "We just did a really good job of reading what the defense gave us. It just happened to fall in my hands at the end. I took a great shot."

Tina Charles scored 25 points and Renee Montgomery added 18 for the Sun (7-15), who went 8 for 15 from 3-point range. Atlanta, shooting a WNBA-worst 26.2 percent from beyond the arc, made 3 of 11.

"(There were) a lot of heroes," said coach Anne Donovan, whose team snapped a three-game skid. "A good win for us, obviously."

The Sun's victory was their first in three tries against the Dream this season. After scoring a season-high 34 points in a 78-77 win at Connecticut on June 23, McCoughtry had 22 in a 74-65 home victory July 24.

The All-Star forward, averaging 22.0 points, has scored at least 30 in three of the last four games.

"She is something else," Sun forward Mistie Bass said. "She can score at will. She is the type of player who can orchestrate exactly what a defense is going to do, and she's really smart at what she does."

Containing McCoughtry could prove crucial as the Sun hit the road, where they have dropped six of seven. Hightower, averaging 12.8 points to rank third on the team, is uncertain to be available again due to a knee injury.

The Dream won their first eight home games by an average of 15.1 points before falling 88-82 to New York on Sunday.