By Sydney Gibbs
The Atlanta Dream hung around with the Las Vegas Aces for the majority of the game, but ultimately fell, 89-79, on Saturday night. The Aces went on a 14-4 run at the start of the final period and the Dream just couldn’t find an answer offensively to get out of that drought.
“I think it was a tough stretch because we got good shots,” said Dream coach Nicki Collen. “During that stretch we had a layup for Elizabeth [Williams] on a drop off from Mo [Monique Billings], then Blake [Dietrick] had a driving left handed layup, so we had back-to-back layups that we missed. That happens.”
“We were 1-for-12 from the arc, we have to shoot the basketball better. This is a team that loads up in the lane and makes you kick it and we probably needed to kick it a little more, and we needed to shoot it a little better because I thought the three-point line was the difference. I mean if you look at their four threes versus our one that’s the game right there.”
Atlanta shot a season low of 8.3 percent from three-point range compared to Las Vegas’ 33.3 percent. The Dream made some noise in the paint, especially in the first half connecting on almost 50% of their shots. Overall, they shot 44.7 percent while the Aces shot 52.4 percent from the field.
The Dream trailed 45-44 going into halftime, and the biggest difference in the first half versus the second was the turnovers the Aces’ committed and the points the Dream were able to secure. Las Vegas had nine total turnovers in the first half and six of those led to 10 points for Atlanta.
The Dream has had issues all season long with protecting the basketball and not committing too many turnovers. They won that battle tonight, finishing with nine compared to the Aces’ 16. However, that turnover margin did not seem to matter and the Dream ultimately couldn’t keep up with Las Vegas down the stretch.
Betnijah Laney had yet another double-digit scoring outing, finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds.
Chennedy Carter added 19 points and dished out six assists. Courtney Williams looked confident all game long and finished with 18 points – 10 of which came in the second half and grabbed seven rebounds. Elizabeth Williams also contributed with 10 points.
The Atlanta Dream only have three games left in the regular season with the Playoffs still within reach. A lot of things have to happen in order for the Dream to secure that final playoff spot and they’re not a team to overlook. Atlanta’s approach to the final stretch of games has been the same thing throughout the course of the season.
“Just take it one day at a time,” said Laney. “Continue to stay focused, regardless of the outcome. I think that we still have a chance. We believe that we still have a chance. We just gotta keep going. Leave this one behind us and focus on the next one. Just take it from there.”