The Atlanta Dream wrapped up a brief two-game road trip with an 86-75 loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. Despite the loss, Atlanta secured a spot in the WNBA Playoffs.
“Great effort by the Dream,” Michael Cooper said following the game. “We knew it was going to be a tough game coming here. Phoenix is always a very difficult place to play, and they have some players that have a lot of pride about themselves and I’m pretty sure they thought they should have won the game in Phoenix, but it makes for good playoffs.”
Phoenix took a 24-20 lead at the end of the first quarter. Things started to unravel for the Dream in the second as the Mercury extended the lead to as many as 18 points. Angel McCoughtry picked up her second technical foul and was ejected with just over three minutes remaining in the half.
Atlanta fought back in the second half behind the play of Tiffany Hayes and Bria Holmes. However, the Mercury had an answer and were able to cruise home for the win.
Hayes led Atlanta with 22 points on 6-13 shooting. Holmes added 14 points while Elizabeth Williams just missed out on a double-double with eight points and 16 rebounds.
Brittney Griner led the Mercury with 21 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Diana Taurasi added 17 while Candice Dupree finished with 15.
Even with the loss, the Dream clinched a spot in the WNBA Playoffs. Atlanta is currently tied with Indiana and Chicago with identical 16-15 records. If the season ended today, the Fever would get the fourth seed and a first-round bye while the Dream would be fifth with the Sky sixth.
“Our season has been one of ups and downs,” Cooper said. “I thought we started the season off right and then we went on a six game slide, but I think we’ve done a good job of recuperating and getting into this position. Our goal right now to finish out the last three games is to get that fourth playoff spot and kind of stay there, because again, we could use the rest. But whatever the basketball gods have for us, we’re ready, committed, and we’re going to make a good run.”
Atlanta has three regular season games remaining. They will host San Antonio on Tuesday and Dallas on Thursday before wrapping up the season in Minnesota on Sunday.