Hammon, Wauters Lead Silver Stars Past Dream
By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr., Associated Press Writer

San Antonio 81, Atlanta 66

ATLANTA, June 18 (AP) - Whenever point guard Becky Hammon drove into the lane, San Antonio coach Dan Hughes knew that positive results would follow.

"She has three levels,'' Hughes said. "Yes, she can score and distribute the ball well. But another is when teams give her a lot of attention, she has this knack of not doing too much. That's just her game.''

Hammon had 25 points and a season-high nine assists, Ann Wauters added 18 points and 14 rebounds, and the Silver Stars beat the winless Atlanta Dream 81-66 Wednesday night.

It was the second straight road win for San Antonio (7-4), which ended a four-game road skid against Indiana on Sunday. The last time the Silver Stars won consecutive road games was last July 29 at Seattle and Aug. 14 at Los Angeles.

Stacey Lovelace led Atlanta (0-11) with 18 points, while Tamera Young had nine points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Betty Lennox, who scored in double figures in nine of the first 10 games, also had nine points for the Dream.

Atlanta is two losses away from becoming the second team in WNBA history to open a season with 13 straight losses. The Detroit Shock started the 2003 season with a 0-13 record.

The Dream will visit Washington on Friday and then return home to face the Shock on Sunday.

"We have to make layups and not turn the ball over late in games,'' Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "When you miss layups, it breaks your back.''

Wauters scored on a three-point play that capped a 10-3 run to give San Antonio a 50-34 lead - its largest of the game - late in the third quarter. Hammon had five points and two assists during the spurt.

Sophia Young scored 18 points, while Helen Darling finished with seven assists for the Silver Stars.

"We have a lot of good offensive players,'' Hammon said, "and tonight we showed that. We did well in transition, and it is important for us. Defensively, it worked for us as well.''

The Silver Stars, who have allowed the second-fewest points per game this season, played strong against a Dream offense that shot 36 percent (26-for-72) from the floor.

"Their toughness makes you run,'' Lovelace said. "You cannot slack off at all with them because you know they'll come right back at you.''

Hughes credited Wauters' presence around the rim as a primary reason for the Silver Stars' defensive success.

"She has enabled us to get some great stops by how she defends,'' the coach said of Wauters. "She also has done wonders offensively for us. She provides an element at the post position that we didn't have last year.''

San Antonio acquired Wauters from Atlanta in a draft-day deal that sent Camille Little, Chioma Nnamaka and a 2009 first-round pick to the Dream. The Silver Stars also received Morenike Atunrase and Atlanta's second-round pick in 2009.

Iziane Castro Marques returned for the Dream after missing five games while participating in the Olympic qualifying tournament for Brazil. Castro Marques, who has averaged 8.2 points per game, had only two points in 18 minutes.

Meadors said Marques' absence helped rookie Tamera Young develop quicker.

"With her being gone, it gave Tamera more experience,'' Meadors said. "She was able to step up more and more the more she plays.''

Atlanta led 13-9 in the first quarter on Lovelace's layup off a steal. Hammon hit a 3-pointer to give the Silver Stars a 30-20 lead with 3:53 left in the second quarter.

"We're starting to draw some chemistry as a team,'' Hughes said. "We're just in a different mentally as a team and was able to catch them on a night where some of the shots for them were not dropping.''

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