After San Antonio lost to Chicago Thursday to end their three-game winning streak, head coach Vickie Johnson was disappointed in how the Stars played and was prepared to run them through a hard practice the next day to refocus and improve.
She ultimately let them have a relaxing shoot around instead, though, a decision which proved prescient as the Stars handily defeated the Atlanta Dream 84-68 Saturday night at the AT&T Center.
“I had this whole practice plan worked out,” Johnson said after the game. “For 35 minutes we cleaned up some stuff, but then I just let them shoot around. I could see the difference in our players — early in the season they wouldn’t have cared, but it was just something in their eyes.
“When I saw that, they were holding themselves accountable, so I didn’t have to beat them into the ground.”
The Stars (7-22) were firing on all cylinders early in the contest, shooting 52.9% from the field in the first quarter while going perfect from three-point range and the free throw line.
Isabelle Harrison led the way for San Antonio with a career-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting, Kayla McBride scored 14 points to reach double-figures in scoring for the 22nd time this season, and Kelsey Plum dished out a game-high six assists to go along with 10 points.
“I just wanted to focus on my defense and let that lead into my offense,” Harrison said. “We just had a lot of opening scoring positions from the high post. Coach was talking to me before the game about it, so I just wanted to take advantage of that.”
The Stars outscored the Dream in every quarter and took control of the game in the second, holding Atlanta to 12 points — tying the fewest number of points San Antonio has allowed an opponent to score in a quarter this season — to take an 11 point lead into halftime.
After losing twice to Atlanta on the road this season where the Stars blew second half leads, the players made it a point to play all 40 minutes this time around.
“We had pretty good games starting off in Atlanta, and then we just let it go,” Harrison said. “We just needed to make sure we took care of business. Before we went to the court, our captains were just telling us, ‘Make sure we do what we need to do and stay focused in this game.’”
The Stars embark on a two-game road trip starting with the Seattle Storm next Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. at the KeyArena.
The next-and last- Stars home game is Friday, August 25, also Fan Appreciation Night. Click here to purchase tickets