Elizabeth Williams scored 17 Friday night. File photo

Williams leads Dream to second win in a row

In the postgame news conference after Friday’s win, the Dream’s Renee Montgomery walked into the room with teammate Elizabeth Williams trailing her. Montgomery entered yelling, “(Elizabeth’s) coming! (Elizabeth’s) coming. She has two good games and it goes to her head.” 

Williams scored 17 points in the Dream’s win over the Sun earlier this week, and another 17-point performance from the center gave the Dream their second straight win in State Farm Arena. Williams led all scorers as the Dream outlasted the Minnesota Lynx 60-53.

“I think our motor was running so high,” Drean coach Nicki Collen said. “(Williams) just continues to figure out when and how to score in our offense.”

While the Lynx were more accurate shooters, the Dream’s defensive hustle held Minnesota off as Atlanta led the entire game. Tiffany Hayes was especially important for the Dream, helping hold the Lynx’s Odyssey Sims, Minnesota’s leading scorer with 15.8 points a game, to just nine points. 

“I just continue to think that Tiffany Hayes is the best defensive 2-guard in this league hands down,” Collen said.

In the Dream’s last meeting with the Lynx, the Dream finished with a season-low 26 rebounds. But Friday night, they out-rebounded the Lynx 45-39.

“We’re starting to feel like us,” Montgomery said she told her teammates after the game. “As a player and as a team, you can feel when everyone’s on the same page and connected. We feel it.”

She said the Dream’s strength is not in their offensive prowess, but in their ability to create momentum out of their defense. 

The Dream ran away with the lead in the first quarter, extending their advantage to as much as 11 points. 

The Dream didn’t let the Lynx get within six points through much of the first and second quarters. In the final 30 seconds of the half, Minnesota managed to get within five to finish the half down 37-32. 

Williams continued her domination in the second quarter and finished the half with 13 points on 71.4 percent shooting.

“The centers that I play they know that I’m going to battle,” Williams said. “Being a smaller center, I can get away with a lot more and using my body. And I’ll still block your shot. I don’t care how big you are.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Montgomery early in the second half put the Dream up nine points, but an 8-0 run from the Lynx sent the Dream scrambling.  The Dream refused to hand over the lead though, finishing the third quarter ahead 47-44. 

The Lynx outscored the Dream in both the second and third quarters, but were unable to surmount the Dream’s initial lead. 

Alex Bentley scored six points in the fourth quarter as the Dream outscored the Lynx 13-9.

The Dream (5-10) never trailed in the game.

“If you can’t appreciate a grind-it-out (game), we’re probably not the team for you,” Collen said. “We’ve got to do that sometimes and I’m comfortable coaching in that game, and these guys know how to win in that game.”

The Dream hosts the Los Angeles Sparks at 3 p.m. Sunday at State Farm Arena.

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