DeLisha Milton-Jones has seen a lot in her 17 seasons in the WNBA. If the Dream keep playing the way they did in Tuesday’s 71-57 victory over Connecticut, she thinks they can make a push for the playoffs.
“We have the talent, we can score with anybody in this league,” said Jones, who tied Tina Thompson’s record Tuesday with her 496th appearance in a WNBA game. “When we execute our offense and hunker down defensively and execute our game plan, we have a very good chance of putting ourselves in position to have a playoff push.”
The Dream (11-16) entered Tuesday’s game in last place in the Eastern Conference, five games behind Washington, which currently holds the fourth and final playoff spot, with eight games remaining. The Dream have qualified for the playoffs the past six consecutive seasons, including unsuccessfully playing for the WNBA title three times.
“Every game is big for us,” Dream coach Michael Cooper said. “We have no games off. I think we can put some heat on some people and definitely be a spoiler.”
The Dream had no trouble with Connecticut on Tuesday, beating the Sun for the second time in three days and third time this season. The Dream set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a half to take a 33-18 lead. Connecticut played without leading scorer Alex Bentley, a former Dream player who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury.
Sancho Lyttle led the Dream with 17 points and seven rebounds. Shoni Schimmel added 15 points, including making 4-of-6 3-pointers, and Angel McCoughtry added 11 points. The Dream had 18 assists on 26 field goals, a stat that pleased Cooper.
But Milton-Jones’ moment may have been the second-best bright spot for the Dream. She was inserted with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter to tie the mark. She was 0-for-3 with one rebound in 4 minutes, 49 seconds of playing time.
“‘D’ has been a warrior in this league for a long time,” said Cooper, whose relationship with Milton-Jones dates to when both were in Los Angeles, she as a rookie player in 1999 and he as a first-year assistant coach in the WNBA. “I’m glad that it was here at home that she got to do it. We’ve got some more games for her to add to it.”
Milton-Jones said she had no plans to celebrate, but she was happy to tie the record, which can be broken Friday at Indiana.
“It shows my longevity,” Milton-Jones said. “It shows that if you take care of yourself you can have longevity and have rewards like that.”
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