The Atlanta Dream haven’t looked as impressive as they did during a six-game winning streak earlier this month.
They hope for a return to form and to avenge their only home loss of the season Sunday night when they visit the struggling Indiana Fever.
The Dream (10-4) own the Eastern Conference’s top record and won six in a row from June 3-20 by an average margin of 14.7 points. Only one win came by fewer than eight points.
But their run was ended with an 85-78 loss at league-worst New York last Sunday. Though Atlanta bounced back for an 81-79 win in San Antonio on Thursday, the Dream surrendered a 10-0 run to allow the Stars to pull within three points with less than a minute left.
San Antonio was 12 of 23 from 3-point range.
"We were backpedaling a little bit," said Sancho Lyttle, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds. "Maybe it was fatigue or maybe it was them. We’ve got to play 40 minutes. They were shooting 3s and they got back in the game with four 3s. If you look at stats like that, we weren’t playing our defense."
Angel McCoughtry scored 18 points but remains in a bit of a slump from long distance, going 4 for 16 over her past five games. She was previously shooting 38.7 percent from beyond the arc on the season. She scored 27 and was 2 of 3 from 3-point range in a 90-88 win at Indiana on May 17.
Atlanta leads the league in rebounding with a plus-5.1 differential, while Indiana averages a minus-1.1 margin. Two Dream players are among the league’s top five rebounders, with Erika de Souza averaging 9.5 per game and Lyttle at 9.1
However, both clubs recorded 37 rebounds in Indiana’s 82-77 overtime win at Atlanta on May 25, with the Fever’s Erlana Larkins grabbing a career-high 22 boards – two shy of the league’s single-game record. The Dream also committed 21 turnovers leading to 27 points for Indiana.
The Fever (6-8) have dropped four of five after being knocked off at home by West-leading Phoenix, 81-76 on Friday. Indiana led by as many as 13 in the third quarter.
One of the few bright spots was limiting Brittney Griner to a season-low four points after she had totaled 55 over her previous two contests. However, Indiana surrendered a combined 61 points to Penny Taylor, Diana Taurasi and Candice Dupree.
"Anytime you hold Griner to four points, you’re doing really good," coach Lin Dunn said. "Unfortunately, Taurasi and Taylor gave us some fits, and with some help from Dupree."