McCoughtry, Bentley lead Dream past Sun

BY foxsports • July 24, 2013

ATLANTA -- Angel McCoughtry appreciates how rookie Alex Bentley has helped the Atlanta Dream avoid a dropoff in scoring.

A broken foot will keep Sancho Lyttle out until September, and a knee injury will sideline Tiffany Hayes another two weeks, so the Dream need offensive production from someone other than McCoughtry.

"Alex is really helping our team with Sancho and Tiffany being out, so she's going to get better and better," said McCoughtry, the WNBA's second-leading scorer. "She's young and she's learning the game, but she's done well so far."

McCoughtry finished with 22 points, Bentley added 17 and the Atlanta Dream snapped a four-game losing streak with a 74-65 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Wednesday night.

Tina Charles had 14 points and a season high 16 rebounds for Connecticut (4-12), which has lost three straight and dropped to 1-7 on the road.

Atlanta held the Sun to 20 points in the first half, the lowest output by an opponent in the Dream's six-year history. The previous low was 21 two years ago at Seattle.

"We were down 20, so we were just trying to cut into the lead at each timeout, and we got within six points," Charles said. "But they turned it up again, so we just wanted to keep cutting it down."

The Dream (11-5) took their first double-digit lead with 1:15 left in the first on McCoughtry's runner. McCoughtry padded the lead to 22 in the final minute of the second.

Erika de Souza had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which improved to 8-0 at home.

Kalana Greene added 14 points for Connecticut.

Bentley hit five of her first 11 attempts from the field, including two 3-pointers, before the start of the fourth quarter. In her last 11 games, the former Penn State standout guard has averaged 9.9 points.

"A lot of people talked about her during the draft, and I kept my eye on her," Dream coach and general manager Fred Williams said. "She's a go-getter. She's a winner and she's proved that over the last few days."

The Sun went on a 20-6 run to make it 46-40 on Greene's two free throws with 3:12 left in the third. McCoughtry followed with a 16-footer, but she picked up her fifth with 2:32 remaining and left the game.

Armintie Herrington's layup and two layups by Bentley pushed the lead to 14 at the end of the third.

Alison Hightower missed her first nine field-goal attempts for Connecticut before her jumper with 8:46 left in the game cut the lead to 56-42.

McCoughtry, the WNBA's second-leading scorer, returned with 5:30 remaining and need just a few seconds to hit an 18-footer that made it 60-48.

She has struggled, though, on 3-pointers recently, going 0 for 4 beyond the arc Wednesday and 0 for 11 in the last two games, but McCoughtry is more upset with foul calls the last two games.

McCoughtry was called for four of her five fouls in the third quarter. In Sunday's 27-point loss at Tulsa, Williams was ejected after arguing with officials that McCoughtry only had seven free throw attempts despite getting hit repeatedly in the lane.

"I thought I paid my dues where I could get some calls," McCoughtry said. "I mean rookies get more calls than I do. I'm just going to keep playing through it.

The Dream seemed to lack focus in putting away the Sun, allowing Renee Montgomery's 3-pointer before Greene stole the ball from de Souza and hit a layup to make it 66-61 with 54.2 seconds remaining.

Bentley hit one of two free throws and McCoughtry followed with two foul shots to push the lead to eight with 37 seconds to go.

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