ATLANTA — Free-throw shooting has been a problem all season for the Atlanta Dream. Against San Antonio, it was a key to their victory.
Sancho Lyttle had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Angel McCoughtry scored 23 points to lead the dream to a 90-83 victory over the Silver Stars on Sunday. Shooting a league-worst 64.7 percent from the line coming into the game, the Dream went 23 of 30, including Lyttle's 8-for-8 effort and McCoughtry's shooting 9 for 10.
"We were bound and determined to make our foul shots," said coach Marynell Meadors, whose team was 11 of 21 in a loss at New York on Friday and hadn't been doing much better before that.
Asked what the difference was, Meadors said, "Maybe the thousand shots they took yesterday."
Atlanta (8-3) bounced back after losing three of its previous four.
"We've been working extra trying to get our rhythm," McCoughtry admitted. "But it's all mental. Once you get your mind right, you'll make them. It's just a mind game."
San Antonio (3-6) was perfect from the line, but had just nine attempts.
"I think we should have went to the foul line more," San Antonio coach Sandy Brondello said. "That's a big gap and we have people who can penetrate pretty hard."
The game was decided in the third quarter, when Atlanta went on a 14-0 run that featured eight points from Lyttle, who had her fifth double-double.
"That was the ballgame" Brondello said. "Our lack of execution and ball movement really played into that. We helped create their offense down at the other end."
The Dream led 66-55 going into the final quarter and 86-75 with 2 minutes left.
"We ran and got transition baskets," McCoughtry said. "We knew they'd get a little tired. People keep trying to stop us from running, but they can't if we play good defense and get turnovers."
Iziane Castro Marques scored 12 points for Atlanta while Shalee Lehning had 10 points and eight assists and Alison Bales added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Sophia Young had 24 points for San Antonio and Chamique Holdsclaw scored 15 — 10 in the fourth quarter — against her former team. Michelle Snow and Edwige Lawson-Wade, who made four 3-pointers, each had 14 points and Becky Hammon scored 11.
"It's hard to lose a game like this where we had it in our hands," Young said. "I would say that we pretty much gave that game away."
Young had 13 points in the first half as San Antonio led 23-20 after the first quarter and 39-37 at halftime despite getting just three points from Holdsclaw, who hit one of the Silver Stars' four first-quarter 3-pointers. She missed her other six shots.
McCoughtry had 11 of her 13 first-half points in the opening quarter, hitting four of her first five shots. Atlanta shot 50.8 percent for the game.
Castro Marques had 23 points and McCoughtry scored 20 as the Dream opened the season with a 75-70 victory at San Antonio on May 15. Holdsclaw, who had held out and demanded a trade, was waived by Atlanta four days later and signed by the Silver Stars on May 21.
"She usually makes those shots, but some days you just don't make them," Brondello said of Holdsclaw's rough start. "I don't think it played into coming back to Atlanta. We didn't talk about that or anything. She's with us now and she's been a solid player for us."