Dream has dropped seven in a row after loss to Sky

Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen.

caption arrowCaption
Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen.

And the nightmare continues.

The Atlanta Dream couldn’t hold on to its early momentum, losing to the Chicago Sky 87-75 on Saturday night in State Farm Arena. Atlanta is 5-17 after losing seven games in a row.

Timely back-to-back three pointers by the Sky’s Diamond DeShields and Stefanie Dolson gave Chicago energy in the closing minutes of the second quarter, and the Sky went into the locker room leading 46-42. They scored eight unanswered points within the first two minutes of the second half, and held on to win the game. Dolson poured in 16 points, while Courtney Vandersloot added 13 points and DeShields scored 12 points. DeShields played at Norcross High School.

“It wasn’t one person that beat us,” said Dream coach Nicki Collen. “It was a collective roster effort.”

The Dream, which led by as many as 10 points in the first half, followed a season-long trend of shooting the ball poorly. Despite double-digit scoring from forward Jessica Breland (18 points), guard Alex Bentley (21 points), Atlanta shot 34.7% from the field. Star guard Tiffany Hayes, who exited the game at the end of the first half with a nose injury from a stray elbow near the paint, scored nine points -- eight of them in the first quarter. Collen said Hayes will get an X-ray Sunday morning, but she thinks it’s a broken nose.

“She puts pressure on the defense, she puts foul pressure on the defense, she gets people more open,” said Collen when discussing Hayes’ impact for the team. “She certainly is an energy player. It’s not an excuse -- we have enough good players. But playing a half without your best player doesn’t help.”

In the first half, things were different. Atlanta forced 14 turnovers, resulting in nine points. It also shot the ball 50% from the field, and 78% from the foul line. The Dream tried to rally in the fourth, bringing the margin to as close as six points. But it couldn’t get over the hump.

“You can’t win in this league if you’re shooting 35%,” Collen said. “You have to score against Chicago, they’re a really good offensive team. You put so much pressure on your defense to be perfect when you’re not hitting open shots.”

Atlanta hosts the Minnesota Lynx Tuesday.