ATLANTA, June 6 (AP) - With his star rookie out with an injury, coach Steve Key knew Chicago would have a tough time against an Atlanta team still searching for its first win as a franchise.
"We knew they were dangerous coming in,'' he said. "Their team had a chip on their shoulder because they hadn't won a game. But I told my team to hold strong when they surge, and they'll finally run out of gas.''
The Sky, who ended a three-game losing streak, got the victory without rookie Sylvia Fowles, the 6-foot-6 center who injured her knee in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday.
Fowles, the second overall pick in the draft out of LSU, is expected to miss the next four to six weeks.
The Sky controlled most of the second half against the Dream, the only team in the WNBA without a win. Whenever Atlanta tried to rally, Chicago answered with a strong run of its own.
Betty Lennox, who went scoreless on four shot attempts in the first half, scored eight of the Dream's first 12 points of the third quarter. Atlanta tied the game 45-45 on Ivory Latta's 3-pointer with 2:49 left in that period.
"I was trying to get everyone involved as well as myself,'' said Lennox, who scored 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field. She averaged 28.5 points in the last two games.
"Ivory stepped up but it's not a two-person team,'' Lennox added. "It's about five players on the court at once - rebounding, going for loose balls, finding the open player and hitting the open shot.''
But Cathy Joens then scored five points during Chicago's 11-1 run, giving the Sky a 56-46 lead. Chasity Melvin and Armintie Price had back-to-back layups, then Candice Dupree scored four straight points, to give Chicago a 72-60 lead with 3:48 left in the game.
"My teammates give me the ball and they look for me to knock down the shot,'' said Perkins, who scored 14 points and had seven rebounds in the third quarter.
Dream coach Marynell Meadors was disappointed by her team's performance, saying, "It was our worst effort.'' After losing the last two games by six or fewer points, she believed the Dream could finally put together a more consistently played game.
"We should have more energy and run our offense better,'' she said. "I thought we turned the corner the other night, and we could have won this game.''
Dupree scored 15 points and Price added 12 for the Sky (2-4). Price, who scored only four points and had one assist in the last two games, finished with nine points.
Atlanta (0-6) pulled within six points on Latta's 3 pointer with 2:15 remaining in the fourth period, but could pull no closer. Latta had 17 points, hitting 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc.
Atlanta center Erika DeSouza, who missed her second consecutive game, is expected to miss at least four weeks. She averaged 11 points and nine rebounds a game before she broke her leg against Washington on May 27.
Both teams will meet again for the second game of the home-and-home series on Saturday night in Chicago.
"We need to go out and compete and stop thinking as if we are an expansion team, because we are not anymore,'' Latta said.