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McCoughtry, De Souza lead Dream past Sky, 97-59

AP - Sports

ATLANTA (AP) -- Erika De Souza, the center from Brazil in her seventh WNBA season with Atlanta, has played on three teams that lost in the finals.

De Souza believes the Dream finally can win a championship.

De Souza and Angel McCoughtry each scored 20 points, and the Dream beat the Chicago Sky 97-59 on Saturday night for Atlanta's most lopsided win in franchise history.

''Everybody plays together this year,'' De Souza said. ''I think that step by step, we can win the finals, win the championship.''

Chicago's Elena Delle Donne, who scored a career-high 33 points Friday in a 102-88 loss to Los Angeles, had a season-low seven and made only three of 10 shots.

Atlanta coach Michael Cooper said his defensive play for Delle Donne was to ''keep a fresh body on her. We understood she played last night.''

The Sky (5-3) fell out of sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.

''We just never got out of the gate,'' Chicago coach Pokey Chatman said.

The Sky finished first in the East last season, but Atlanta advanced to the WNBA finals for the third time in four years.

The 38-point margin of victory set a Dream record.

''Our team is definitely getting better,'' Cooper said. ''Slowly but surely you can see we're definitely starting to get to know each other.''

Cooper said he didn't think the dominant win over Chicago was a statement game. He added that the Sky knows ''we're a team that's going to be reckoned with this season.''

Sancho Lyttle had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta (5-3). De Souza had eight rebounds for the Dream, who held a 51-32 advantage. The 51 rebounds tied a franchise record.

''There's a reason Atlanta is always in the finals,'' Chatman said. ''They're a quality basketball team. They play too fast. They get second-chance points and they rebound well.''

With De Souza and Lyttle leading the inside attack, McCoughtry and Tiffany Hayes each made three 3-pointers. Hayes had 11 points.

Rookie Shoni Schimmel scored 10 for Atlanta. Celine Dumerc had five assists.

Allie Quigley led the Sky with 11 points, and Jessica Breland had 10.

Delle Donne, the 2013 WNBA rookie of the year who began the night second in the league with a 24.4 points average, scored only two first-half points.

Atlanta, which led 56-31 at the break, set season marks for most points scored and fewest allowed in a half and a game.

Atlanta set the high-scoring pace with a 30-16 lead in the first period, its highest total in any quarter this season. De Souza helped the Dream establish an inside advantage by scoring the game's first two baskets on a follow shot and a drive to the hoop.

The Dream snapped a four-game losing streak to the Sky, including an 87-73 defeat at Chicago on May 24 when McCoughtry was held out with an injury.

Atlanta's previous biggest win was by 33 points - 92-59 over Los Angeles on June 15, 2012.

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