ATLANTA – Now that she’s reclaimed a starting job, Sancho Lyttle is ready to give the Atlanta Dream a big boost with 14 games left in the regular season.
“It feels good,” Lyttle said. “I was told yesterday I was going to start, so I knew I just wanted to come out with full energy.”
Angel McCoughtry scored 17 points, Erika de Souza added 13 and the Dream snapped a two-game losing streak with a 70-53 victory over the Seattle Storm on Sunday.
Lyttle, who missed six games while playing for Spain’s national team and another six to recover from a back injury, had six points and seven rebounds.
Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors, however, values her for more than numbers. Lyttle’s 6-foot-4, 193-pound frame — a big reason the Dream won the Eastern Conference last year — gives the Atlanta front line a physical presence it lacked during her absence.
“Sancho is always talking to her teammates and making sure everyone is in their right place,” Meadors said. “If they are not in the right place, she will make sure to cover for them. Sancho is just a great team player and a great player to have.”
In a rematch of last year’s WNBA Finals, the defending champion Storm committed 29 turnovers, tying the league’s single-game high this season. Swin Cash scored 16 points and reserve guard Katie Smith had 11 for Seattle, which ended a three-game winning streak.
Dream starting guard Armintie Price was carried off the court after twisting her left ankle late in the second quarter. X-rays of Price’s ankle were negative, and she’s listed as day-to-day.
Cash and Sue Bird combined for 12 turnovers and five assists for the Storm, who were outscored in second-chance points, 20-2.
“We had 16 turnovers in the first half, 10 of those in the first quarter,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “We are not a team that can overcome stuff like that. We have to be efficient with the basketball.”
The Storm continued to play without All-Star forward Lauren Jackson, who has been recovering from hip surgery since June 21.
“Atlanta is a very athletic team,” Bird said. “Early on, they were turning us over and turning that into points. Every time we cut the lead, they would make another run. They were pretty much in control of the game, and we never got into it.”
Seattle, which will visit New York on Tuesday, dropped to 4-8 on the road.
“We’ve gotten better on the road recently, but we didn’t play really well tonight,” Agler said. “Atlanta had time to prepare. I think they had four or five days to practice, and they were hungry. They see their playoff hopes in limbo so they played with a lot more urgency than we did.”