Angel McCoughtry's 30 points help Dream snap 4-game skid
ATLANTA -- Angel McCoughtry wasn't about to let the Atlanta Dream lose for the second straight night to Connecticut.
Her intensity on both ends of the floor was the difference.
"We just needed a win, that's all," she said. "I'm not worried about individual stuff."
McCoughtry scored 30 points, Erika de Souza had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Atlanta snapped a four-game skid with an 88-57 victory over the Sun on Friday night.
McCoughtry, the WNBA's leading scorer, missed only two shots, going 9 for 11 from the field and hitting all 11 of her free throws.
Iziane Castro-Marques finished with a season-high 18 points for the Sun, who have lost four of five and suffered the franchise's third-worst loss in 11 seasons at Connecticut.
The Sun missed their first 16 shots before Castro-Marques hit a 3-pointer to make it 18-5 with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.
"Atlanta came out with a whole lot of fire and intensity and energy, and we did not," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "It was from the very beginning of the game."
The Dream improved to 9-1 at home, but they had dropped eight of nine overall to fall into second place in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is 2 1/2 games behind Chicago.
In four games against the Sun this season, McCoughtry has a 29.8 scoring average, but her 33 points weren't enough to prevent an 88-86 loss Thursday at Connecticut.
She has scored at least 30 seven times against the Sun.
"Over the years, since she's been here, she's had some pretty good games against Connecticut," Atlanta coach Fred Williams said. "Her energy level was really high tonight."
Determined not to let Atlanta stumble again, McCoughtry had 14 points in the first quarter, five assists in the third and played just 4 minutes of the fourth.
"We just got back to the way we play with our running game," she said. "Once you run and get out on the break, it's easy to pass the ball."
McCoughtry had a flurry of three assists in a 1 minute, 13-second span of the third quarter, the best of which was a behind-the-back pass on a fast break that led to Le'Coe Willingham's layup and a 51-24 lead.
"I think we got back tonight to playing the way we want," Willingham said, "and that's by playing aggressive, up tempo, getting after people defensively, and that creates our offense in the open court."
Tan White, who hit the winning jumper with five-tenths of a second remaining for Connecticut the night before, finished with 11 points.
Tina Charles, the league's fourth-leading scorer, finished with nine points on 4-for-13 shooting.
The Sun were outscored by 20 points in the paint and by 15 on fast breaks.
Castro-Marques could tell her team was flat emotionally from the start.
"We let them have a big run and finished the first quarter up 20-7," she said. "Then, even playing our way, that's hard to come back from. The same thing happened in the third quarter -- a 16-0 run -- and the game was over."
The Dream play their next two at home, Sunday against Washington and Tuesday against league-leading Minnesota.
Williams hopes he's seen the last of his team playing lethargically. That was hardly the case the night before.
"I just felt our energy wasn't there for the course of that whole game on the road," Williams. "I talked to them about making hard cuts and making finishes down the stretch. You can get steals, but you've got to finish at the other end."
Regular Season Series
ATL leads 3-1
- Denise Brooks
- Brenda Pantoja
- Billy Smith
2021-22 Eastern Conference Standings