By Shamica Gibson
The Atlanta Dream encountered their first loss of the season on Sunday after falling to the Chicago Sky in their home opener Sunday afternoon. The loss came just two days after the Dream defeated the Sky in their home opener at Allstate Arena on Friday.
In their new home at McCamish Pavilion on Georgia Tech’s midtown campus, the Dream hosted the Sky in front of nearly 5,000 fans. For the first time since 2009, fans watched their home team open its season without Angel McCoughtry.
Stefanie Dolson led the Sky to victory, scoring a game-high 23 points and rejecting five shots. Cappie Pondexter recorded her first double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and dishing out 10 assists.
After jumping out to an early 24-14 first quarter lead – and leading by 13 points at one point – the Dream headed into halftime with a narrow 32-28 margin over the visitors. The Dream were outscored in both the second and third quarters, and were limited to just eight second quarter points.
“We had a minute where our body language was kind of bad, like we had already lost the game.” according to Layshia Clarendon. “We have to look like we’re hungry the entire game.”
Four players for the Dream recorded double-figure points, including 17 each from guards Layshia Clarendon and Tiffany Hayes. Elizabeth Williams grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, however the Dream were out rebounded by the Sky 43-37.
Sunday’s victory ended the Sky’s two-game losing streak. After starting the season 0-2, Chicago sensed a need to record its first win of the season.
“They came out and beat us at our home opener and we knew we had to bounce back,” Cappie Pondexter said. “Most importantly, we really needed a win to start the season.”
After splitting the season series, the two teams will face each other two more times this season, once in June (23 at Atlanta) and again in August (5 at Chicago).
The Dream will look to regroup and add to their win total on Saturday, May 27, as the defending WNBA champions Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks will travel to town. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion. This will be the first matchup of the season for the two teams. In their three matchups last season, the Dream won the season series 2-1.