By Sydney Gibbs
The Atlanta Dream, yet again, worked some second-half magic for another pivotal win, beating the Connecticut Sun (10-12) 82-75 on Friday night. The Dream have now won four out of their last five games to put themselves at 7-14 on the season.
Atlanta started off slow and struggled shooting in the first half of the game. The Sun extended their longest lead of the night to eight on a three-point jumper made by Theresa Plaisance in the beginning of the second quarter. The Dream trailed 36-33 at the half.
But with the playoffs on the line, Atlanta wasn’t going to let that deficit last long.
Shekinna Stricklen gave the Dream their first lead since the opening minute of the game on a deep three halfway through the third quarter, to go up 46-43. After taking over the reigns and performing strong on both ends, Atlanta never relinquished their lead and broadened it by as much as 13.
Rookie Chennedy Carter led the team in scoring with 22 points – 11 of which came in the fourth quarter alone. Carter wasn’t alone in the backcourt as Courtney Williams was also a savior in the second half, ending the night with 20 points and nine boards. Betnijah Laney recorded her second straight double-double scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Monique Billings contributed with 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
The Dream are now tied with the Dallas Wings for eighth place and are looking to win their last game of the season against the Washington Mystics. The Wings just recently lost to the Chicago Sky, keeping the Dream’s chances for a Playoffs berth a reality.
Every game as of late has been a must win for the Dream, and they have worked tirelessly down the stretch to get an opportunity to compete for a championship.
“Every game has a certain amount of seriousness to it,” said Billings. “We’re preparing every single game like it could be our last, we don’t want it to be our last. But the mindset is just to keep playing and to keep giving ourselves opportunity.”
Atlanta has been a force to be reckoned with during these last games, and that playoff spot on the line has only forced them to work harder. The transformation of this team during the course of the season is a story on its own, and they have a chance to make that story just a little bit longer if they can win their one last game.
“We got something we’re actually playing for which makes people play harder,” said Carter. “I play hard regardless but when it’s at stake and you got to go home, and you can’t compete no more. For me knowing that it’s do or die time now, trying to go out for 40 minutes and play my heart out, and do the best I can to get my team that win.”
The Dream take the court for their final regular season game against the Washington Mystics (7-13) on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. ET on Fox Sports Southeast and streaming on Facebook.