Defensive-minded Dream visit high-scoring Storm

The Atlanta Dream will get another chance to prove their defense is among the best in the WNBA.

The Dream (4-3), which limited the previously undefeated Connecticut Sun in an 82-70 victory Tuesday, travel Sunday to Seattle to face a Storm team that leads the league with 91.1 points per game.

Connecticut had scored 100 or more points in three of its first four games this year.

“We just talked as a team and said, ‘Nobody is scoring 100 points on us.’ So, that was that,” said Dream guard Tiffany Hayes, who had 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in the victory. “I think our defense is one of the best in the league. We can’t just have people coming to our home court and scoring 100 points. We definitely had a talk as a team that we’re not going to let that happen.”

Teammate Renee Montgomery credited rookie coach Nicki Collen, a former Connecticut assistant, for her preparation.

“We always have the upper hand because of (Collen). Seriously. OK, this is her old team, but her (scouting reports) are out of this world. She’ll watch every game of the team we’re about to play twice. It’s crazy.”

The Dream opened their three-game trip with an 87-83 victory Friday night in Las Vegas against the Aces, with Hayes scoring 24 points and Angel McCoughtry adding 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

The Storm (6-2) lead the Western Conference and are one game behind Connecticut for the league’s best record.

Seattle is led by forward Breanna Stewart (21.5 points per game) and guard Jewell Loyd (20.1). The Storm set a league record with 17 3-pointers in their last home game, a 101-74 victory against the Aces on May 31.

The Storm are coming off an 88-63 victory at Los Angeles. Alysha Clark led Seattle with a season-high 17 points, with Stewart and Natasha Howard each scoring 16.

The Storm limited the Sparks to 37.3 percent shooting from the field and a season low in points.

“I would say defensively, it was our best game,” first-year Storm coach Dan Hughes said. “It was a good example of how one end of the court impacts the other end of the court. But defensively we just seemed really focused, really active and locked in.”

Hughes has gotten a reputation as a defensive guru in his 17 years as a coach in the WNBA. But he said he realizes with players such as Stewart, Loyd and veteran point guard Sue Bird, the Storm are an offensive threat.

“I like the game going up and down,” Hughes told the Seattle Times. “We’re not going to set defensive records as far as numbers, but if we’re efficient that’s key.”