The expansion Atlanta Dream have already set the WNBA record for the longest winless start to a season. They hope to avert another unfavorable distinction as they try again for the first victory in franchise history.
The Dream look to avoid becoming the first team without a win at the midpoint of a season Thursday night when they host the Houston Comets.
Atlanta has dropped its first 16 games by an average of 13.1 points, as it ranks second-to-last in the league in scoring defense (87.8 points per game) and last in field-goal percentage defense (46.5).
The Dream's season-opening skid is the longest in the WNBA's 12-year history, surpassing Detroit's 0-13 start in 2002. A loss Thursday would make Atlanta 0-17 with 17 games remaining.
The Dream didn't appear to be on the verge of turning things around in their last game. They were the victims of a 20-3 run in the second quarter and a 24-7 spurt spanning the third and fourth quarters of a 97-79 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday night.
Dream guard Betty Lennox, third in the league with 19.8 points per game, scored 11 in the first quarter but was held to seven on 2-for-5 shooting the rest of the way as she battled double-teams.
"They wanted her to give it up," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "What Betty has to do is to put the ball on the floor and penetrate then kick or shoot the ball."
Lennox, a ninth-year pro out of Louisiana Tech, will try to heed that advice against a Houston team that also struggled defensively Tuesday night. The Comets (7-9) were outscored 48-30 in the second half of a 78-68 loss to Connecticut that snapped their season-high four-game win streak.
"When you have Connecticut down, they still fight their way through," Comets coach Karleen Thompson said. "We had a bit of a lead, but we stopped playing defense."
The loss overshadowed another solid game from Sancho Lyttle, who had nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks before fouling out with 4:33 remaining. The 6-foot-4 center is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals while shooting 70.0 percent (21-for-30) from the field in three straight starts in place of the injured Tina Thompson.
Thompson, leading the Comets with 17.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, missed those three games with a broken left ring finger. The five-time All-Star and second-leading scorer in league history is listed as day-to-day.