The Atlanta Dream must halt a troublesome trend when they face the Dallas Wings at Arlington, Texas, in Game 2 of a best-of-three WNBA first-round playoff series Tuesday.
The Dream have lost all four games against the Wings this season by an average of 12 points per contest, including Friday night's 94-82 defeat in Game 1.
If Atlanta can't figure out how to defeat Dallas at least once this season, the series — and their season — will end Tuesday.
How does the Dream keep the dream alive?
"We've got to learn how to just keep our composure and finish out games," Atlanta coach Tanisha Wright said. "We have to keep our turnovers down, especially when we see them get a little bit more aggressive. We can't get rattled."
The fifth-seeded Dream had 16 turnovers Friday and committed 19 fouls, sending the Wings to the free-throw line 27 times. Dallas made more free throws (19) than Atlanta attempted (17).
The Wings were able to erase a 20-point second-quarter deficit and cancel out Rhyne Howard's 36 points for the Dream, the most ever in a WNBA playoff debut.
Howard was 8 of 15 from 3-point range and added three steals, while Allisha Gray added 21 points. But the Dream made just 36.8 percent of their field-goal attempts.
Fourth-seeded Dallas mixed a great individual performance of its own with superior rebounding to offset Howard. The Wings received 32 points from Satou Sabally and earned a 44-32 advantage on the boards.
Toss in a near triple-double from Arike Ogunbowale (24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) and a double-double from Teaira McCowan (17 points, 14 rebounds) and it put Dallas on the verge of a semifinal clash with the Las Vegas Aces.
"There's a sisterhood here," Wings coach Latricia Trammell said. "I'm extremely proud of them. I'm honored and proud to be going on this journey with them."
If Dallas is unable to clinch the series Tuesday, a deciding Game 3 will take place Friday at Atlanta.
—Field Level Media