Despite 25 points by Connecticut forward Jennifer Lacy, the Atlanta Dream scored 63 first-half points and raced to a 103-92 win over the Sun before 5,319 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday. Angel McCoughtry led all scorers with 33 points—the eighth time the former Louisville star has scored 30 or more points vs. the Sun in her six-year WNBA career. Former UConn star Tiffany Hayes returned to her old stomping grounds to score a season-high 19 points, while Damaris Dantas added 15 for Atlanta, currently in last place in the WNBA Eastern Conference standings at 10-16, but just two games behind fourth place Connecticut. Camille Little added 22 points for Sun, while Shekinna Stricklen had 12 and Jasmine Thomas 10 for the Sun, who fell to 12-14.
Atlanta’s first-half surge was fueled by yet another Louisville alum, Shoni Schimmel (12 points), who banged in four three-pointers in the first two quarters. Indeed, the entire team was en fuego as Dream drained 10 treys (in 12 attempts) before intermission, setting a new WNBA standard for three-point attempts with a minimum of 10 attempts (.833).
Trailing by 16 at half-time (63-47), the Sun made a frantic comeback in the third period in which they outscored the Dream by eight points. A layup by Kelsey Bone (nine points) cut the Atlanta lead to six, 86-80, with 6:23 remaining in regulation, but that was as close as the Sun would get as the Dream cruised to their first win at the Mohegan Sun Arena in their last six visits.
“I could definitely see some tired bodies out there, but what we talked about pregame is that everybody has to do what they do,” said Connecticut head coach Anne Donovan on her team’s comeback attempt. “Camille [Little] did a great job tonight and [Jasmine] Thomas did a great job at the point and once again. Jenn Lacy did a super job, but everybody didn’t do that so it’s going to be tough to win if everybody doesn’t bring what they do and then a little bit more.”
Overall, Atlanta was 11 for 14 from downtown, and shot 60 percent from the field (40 for 67). McCoughtry’s 33 points marked the 25th time this season she had reached double-digits—the 13th time she had scored 20 or more points and the fourth time she had reached the 30-point mark this season.
Injury-plagued Connecticut, which was already without star players Chiney Ogwumike, Alyssa Thomas and Elizabeth Williams, was forced to play Sunday’s game without All-Star guard Alex Bentley, the team’s second-leading scorer. Bentley injured her ankle in Friday night’s loss to the Tulsa Shock in Oklahoma, and is currently considered day-to-day.
Lacy, whose 25 points represents a career high, now has scored 20 or more points three games in a row.
“We brought her in to play the three and the four and we brought her in because she’s a great shooter and can spread the defense out a little bit, but if you would’ve asked me if she had led us in scoring for three games, I would have not bet on that one,” said Donovan of the 32-year-old Lacy, who played for Tulsa and Seattle in 2013, and did not play last season. “So I give her a lot of credit for staying ready and coming in and staying true to who she is. She’s done a tremendous job for us. We would be in a world of hurt without Jenn Lacy right now.”
With the win, the Dream improved to 16-16 lifetime vs. the Sun. The teams now prepare for a quick turnaround and will meet on Tuesday in a rare morning contest in Atlanta, where the Sun own a 3-12 record. Tip-off is at 10:30 a.m. and the game will be televised on NBA-TV and streamed on WNBA Live Access.