Dallas Wings spoil Atlanta Dream home opener

Dallas Wings spoil Atlanta Dream home opener
(Photo by Rashad Milligan for Steed Media Services) Atlanta Dream star Angel McCoughtry takes out the ball in the home opener against Dallas Wings on May 26.

ATLANTA — For the second time within the first week of the season, the Dallas Wings defeated the Atlanta Dream, 78-70.

“We just stayed together as a team, it was a really tough game and we just had to fight it out,” Dallas Wings center Liz Cambage said.

Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith led the scoring effort with 24 points to go along with her five rebounds and four assists on the night. Kayla Thornton held the Wings lead in the first half when Diggins-Smith was struggling to find her shot from the field early on.

“Law of averages, you’ve got to start making some shots,” Diggins-Smith said. “We stayed with it; we practice these shots every day, so just staying confident with our shots. We were getting good looks. I thought we had a lot of turnovers in transition, missed opportunities in transition and some of that you have to credit their defense. We pushed through it and we were able to make that last run and we were able to get a dub tonight.”

The six-foot-eight Cambage was a huge difference maker in the paint, tallying up 14 points, 14 rebounds, as well as blocking four of Atlanta’s shots in the winning effort. Atlanta’s defense often brought help on the defensive side of the ball with a few double teams and even triple teams on Cambage throughout the night.

“She’s a big force for us this year in the middle and that’s why she’s here,” Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams said of Cambage. “A lot of teams can’t get to the paint as fast and as quick as they want to and Liz is a big piece of that puzzle of being a tremendous organization.”

Angel McCoughtry led all Dream scorers with 19 points in her first game back in Atlanta after resting during the 2017 season. McCoughtry fired up the crowd with a momentum-shifting and-one that she completed during one of the Dream’s comeback attempts in the second half. The four-time All-Star and Dream newcomer Jessica Breland held a Q&A session from some of the local teams who attended the game on Saturday.

Legendary Atlanta rappers Bone Crusher and T.I. along with NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo were all in attendance at the home opener. Bone Crusher debuted the Dream’s new theme song with Atlanta musician Sir Foster at halftime.

The matchup between the two squads was the home opener for the Dream this year at McCamish Pavilion on Georgia Tech’s campus. This marks the second season the team is playing on the college campus while renovations are being done down the street at Phillips Arena, the traditional home for the Dream.

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