The schedule is about to lighten up at a good time for the Connecticut Sun.
They have the Atlanta Dream to thank.
Sunday is the first of three matchups over 10 days for the Sun against the Eastern Conference’s last-place team.
Throw in a road game Friday night against reeling Tulsa, which suffered its 10th straight loss Wednesday in Connecticut, and the Sun are presented with a good chance to re-enter the postseason picture.
Connecticut better take advantage of this four-game stretch – the other three are against an Atlanta club which has lost seven of eight – because five of its final seven games come against three of the WNBA’s top four teams – New York, Chicago and Phoenix. The Sun (12-11) are 1 1/2 games behind Indiana and Washington for one of the East’s final two playoffs.
A 1-6 combined mark against those two teams stings, and the Sun have floundered of late with two losses in their last three games after falling 90-78 at home to New York on Friday.
Alex Bentley and Kelsey Bone were the only two Connecticut players to score in double figures with 19 and 17 points, respectively. The two have combined for 48 percent of Connecticut’s points in the last two games.
Bentley has been boom-or-bust lately. Over the past seven games, she’s scored at least 19 points three times and has been held below five in three others.
Angel McCoughtry has been nothing but productive for Atlanta and has been on a roll lately, averaging 26.0 points in the last three games. McCoughtry scored 32 and had a season-high six steals in an 84-82 loss to Minnesota on Friday, her third time eclipsing 30 points this season.
The Dream (8-15) looked to have that one in hand against the WNBA’s top team but blew a 16-point lead in the second half.
Atlanta, 5 1/2 games back of the East’s final playoff spot, has dropped three straight to Connecticut after losing both matchups this season. Bone and Shekinna Stricklen each scored 18 in an 82-64 home win June 14 after Bentley led the Sun with 17 in a 75-70 victory in Atlanta on June 7. McCoughtry scored 24 in the most recent matchup but just 10 in the first.