PHOENIX - AUGUST 26: Jayne Appel #32 of the San Antonio Silver Stars puts up a shot against the Phoenix Mercury in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 WNBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on August 26 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Angel McCoughtry's two free throws with just 2.5 seconds remaining put the Atlanta Dream ahead for good as they defeated the Chicago Sky by a score of 83-80 in a physical and at times sloppy contest by both sides. The victory gives Atlanta some much needed breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff race as they now lead Chicago by two full games for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East. Atlanta takes the season series from Chicago going 3-1 against the Sky this season.
This match up wasn't short on drama. With the score tied at 78-78, McCoughtry drew a foul against Chicago's Tamera Young and hit 1 of 2 free throws putting the Dream up by one. On Chicago's next possession, Sancho Lyttle came up with a steal for Atlanta only to turn the ball back over on a shot clock violation. After a time out, Chicago got the ball inside to Sylvia Fowles who hit a turnaround jump shot in the lane to give the Sky an 80-79 lead with just 6.3 seconds to go in the game.
After an Atlanta timeout, the Dream inbounded the ball to McCoughtry who got a solid screen from Sancho Lyttle that gave her just enough crease to get a good look at the basket. Michelle Snow was whistled for a foul on the play sending McCoughtry to the line with just 2.5 seconds remaining. McCoughtry would make both giving Atlanta a one point lead. Atlanta foiled an attempted lob pass to Sylvia Fowles out of a Chicago timeout and Lindsey Harding knocked down two free throws to seal the win for the Dream.
McCoughtry led all scorers with 22 points going 6 for 17 from the field but 10 of 13 from the free throw line. Lindsey Harding continued her good play of late finishing with 15 points and nine assists. Erika de Souza chipped in 13 while Sancho Lyttle finished with 12. The Dream shot a sizzling 52 percent from the floor but turned the ball over 20 times.
Sylvia Fowles logged a double double for Chicago with 20 points and 12 rebounds while going 9 of 12 from the field. Eshaya Murphy finished with 16 points while Epiphanny Prince tossed in 12. Chicago turned the ball over 25 times which helped negate a sizable rebounding advantage Chicago held over the Dream.
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The Atlanta Dream take on the Chicago Sky tonight and are trying to hold onto the fourth and final playoff spot in the WNBA's Eastern Conference. Tip off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and can be seen online with WNBA Live Access.