By Bailey Johnson
After three games in six days on the road, the Dream begin a three-game homestand on Wednesday against the Connecticut Sun. And after getting a coveted win against Seattle on Friday and dropping a close game to Phoenix on Sunday, capitalizing on this homestand is key for coach Nicki Collen and her team.
“We’re thinking about one game at a time at this point and trying to start a streak,” Collen said after practice on Tuesday. “You can only say for so long, “It’s the next game, we’re gonna get it going.” We need to get on a streak because if we wanna be in the playoffs we’ve got to start to make up ground.
“We can certainly do that, we’re not sitting back thinking we’re going to be playing for the lottery, but at some point, if we don’t turn great effort into Ws, then we will be looking at a lottery and hoping that our record from last year being so good doesn’t hurt us.”
The win at the Storm — the Dream’s first road win of the year — highlighted a three-game road trip that Collen feels reflects some of the Dream’s best basketball of the year. In the 77-66 win, the Dream shot 42% from the field and held Seattle to just 24-of-66 shooting.
The defense locked down on Mercedes Russell, holding the center to just 2 points in 25 minutes, and allowed just 11 points from the Storm’s bench. It was a much-needed win, and the win demonstrated that the pieces are there for the Dream to be successful.
“I thought we got off to our usual bad start, but I thought that we really battled,” Collen said. “After that, I thought it was our most complete defensive performance. We were a little wonky in the fourth when they started pressing and we didn’t take care of the ball, but I thought we really competed defensively. It helped that they’re obviously down a couple good players, but they’ve managed to beat other people down players. I thought the road trip in general we played a lot of good basketball.”
And after a two-point loss in Phoenix on Sunday, the Dream are hungry to get back in the win column on Wednesday against the Sun — a team the Dream have come to know very well this season.
Wednesday’s game will be the third time the two teams have met in the past three weeks, and the Dream will travel to Connecticut next Friday to complete the four-game season series. It’s four games in 40 days in total, and both teams know what the other will do.
But since the last time the Dream faced the Sun, Connecticut has dropped from 9-1 to 9-5 and hold the league’s longest losing streak at four games. After a three-point loss their last time out, the Sun are looking to snap the streak on Wednesday.
Playing a team that’s hungry and desperate for a win can be dangerous. But the Dream are just as hungry and desperate, setting up a contentious matchup.
“Ideally, you want to get off to a good start,” Collen said. “They just gave themselves a good cushion by being 9-1 when they decided to have a four-game losing streak. … Keeping it close early and really competing with them will go a long way toward them showing the same frustration that they’ve maybe shown coming off getting hammered by Washington on national TV and then losing a close one to Minnesota. I think it’s two teams that badly want to win a basketball game.”