The Atlanta Dream finally broke into the win column Thursday night defeating the San Antonio Stars 72-69 at Philips Arena. Angel McCoughtry led the way with 21 points as Atlanta got just enough offense to go along with a much better defensive effort to pull out the victory.
Atlanta held San Antonio to just 37 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers which ignite their fast break. The Dream needed those easy points because their offense sputtered once again making just 36 percent of their field goal attempts while going 3-13 from three-point range. Atlanta has yet to crack 40 percent shooting in any of their three games so far this season.
One thing that has hampered the Dream at both ends of the floor has been the play of the point guard position. Shoni Schimmel started the first two games, but Michael Cooper elected to go with Matee Ajavon against the Stars. Ajavon isn't a true point guard in the sense, but Schimmel's struggles defensively has drawn Cooper's ire early. Ajavon finished with eight points, four rebounds and three steals Thursday night, but the situation feels more like a temporary band aid than an actual solution to the problem.
Schimmel did play well off the bench and knocked down a pair of big threes. She finished with six points and three assists to go along with just one turnover. The Dream as a whole finished with just 15 turnovers against San Antonio which was a marked improvement after totaling 44 in the first two losses.
Erika de Souza finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while Tiffany Hayes added 10, but was just 4-13 from the field. San Antonio's Kayle McBride led all scorers with 29 points while Dearica Hamby added 17.
Thursday's win cant be categorized as a thing of beauty, but it is a win nonetheless and a much needed one for the Dream. The defensive intensity improved but the offense continues to be a mess especially in the halfcourt where too many possessions evolve into a player trying to hurl themselves through three defenders.
The Dream are back at it on Friday when they finish off a back-to-back against the undefeated Washington Mystics.