ATLANTA - The Dream have been on a skid over the past week, from big losses to the pressure of expectations, things just kept going wrong over the past three games.
But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel in Sunday's 65-59 loss.
"If you would've told me that we were going to hold the other team to 28 percent field goal shooting and won three of the four quarters, I would have felt pretty good about our chances to win," Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen said after the game. "I felt like the first three and half minutes looked a little like the last three games. As soon as we subbed, we came with a different energy that pulled everybody else up."
The Dream had a slow start and it showed early in the game Sunday afternoon. The Sun was just lights out from the beginning. 52.9% in the paint another 37.5 from deep and seven steals really put the clamps on Atlanta.
"That was the biggest difference obviously," Collen said of the steals Atlanta gave up. "We were handing them the ball to start the game. They had 16 points off turnovers in the first half, they had four in the second half. It's hard to defend transition baskets and nobody is probably better in the league in transition than Connecticut."
However, the Dream had their own work going on in the process despite a 26-13 first quarter deficit. Atlanta was rebounding the ball, something that was missing from the team's overall style over their losing skid.
The only downside seemed to be the plaguing fouls that continued to pile up, but a strong second quarter where they limited the Sun to just 27.8 percent shooting in the second - was far greater defensively than their previous three games.
With momentum on their side heading into halftime, it was the Dreams' game to lose honestly. Atlanta broke out the stops with their adjustments and kept the Sun from really getting set offensively.
Not to mention over the course of the third, Atlanta seemed to break the foul curse over seven minutes of play. Connecticut, on the other hand, had six fouls and a three-point deficit was all that remained to be overcome.
Over the final two minutes of the third, things ground to a halt for Atlanta as the Sun opened up another gap, but it was narrow. Atlanta had just a little to do over their final quarter.
The Sun was struggling to shoot because the defense was doing what it needed to do over the second through the third quarter and the offense, clicking on all cylinders.
With 6:30 remaining in the fourth, Bentley knotted the game up with a beautiful jumper. After about three minutes, the game broke open once more in favor of the Sun.
"We competed at the level that I expect the Dream to compete at every single day and every single game," she continued. "I think that we had four possessions with the game tied where we had a chance to take the lead, we just never got over the hump."
Atlanta just couldn't hit their shots down the stretch as Connecticut won 65-59 and pushed the Dream to 1-4 on the season.
Atlanta returns to action on the road Saturday against the Dallas Wings.