Erika de Souza scored 20 of her career high-tying 27 points in the second half and had 11 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Dream to a 93-85 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night.
De Souza, who led the WNBA last season with 18 double-doubles, had her third of the season for Atlanta (4-3) as the Dream held off a late rally by the Sparks (2-3).
The Dream led 75-62 when Angel McCoughtry hit a pair of free throws with 1:32 left in the third quarter, but the visitors carried play for much of the next 10 minutes. McCoughtry finished with 14 points.
Jantel Lavender scored 21 points for Los Angeles, and Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points and 21 rebounds for the Sparks. Candace Parker had 13 of her 15 points in the first half.
Parker came into the game averaging 24 points — second best in the league. She had a rough second half going just 1 of 7 from the field.
Sancho Lyttle teamed with de Souza to give the Dream a huge advantage in the paint. She scored 18 points and Atlanta outscored Los Angeles 68-48 in the paint.
The Sparks drew as close as 83-82 on Ogwumike's layup with 3:20 left in the game, but de Souza countered quickly with a layup at the other end on one of rookie reserve point guard Shoni Schimmel's seven assists to push Atlanta toward the win.
The Dream trailed 23-18 after a quarter, but used a 14-0 run in the middle of the second quarter to change the game.
De Souza's three-point play with 8:46 left in the half pulled Atlanta within 27-23 to trigger the Dream burst, and Matee Ajavon's jumper capped the run and made it 34-27.
McCoughtry picked up her fourth foul with 17 seconds left in the third period, and she fouled out 3:59 left in the game. Rookie point guard Celine Dumerc, who joined the Dream Sunday after fulfilling her European commitment, went scoreless without an assist in six first-half minutes.