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Gray has been catalyst for Atlanta Dream’s recent success


DOUG FEINBERG Associated Press

Allisha Gray is a big reason why the Atlanta Dream is moving up in the standings after a successful road trip.

The Dream (5-5) swept games in New York, Connecticut and Indiana to move to .500. Gray averaged 22.7 points and six rebounds in the three wins. Atlanta closes out the road trip against Dallas on Tuesday night.

“She’s someone who basically puts her hard hat on and goes to work and just does what she does,” Dream coach Tanisha Wright said after the Dream’s 100-94 win at Indiana on Sunday. “She did that throughout training camp. There were times when I was like, ‘Oh, this is off.’ But when you go back and watch the tape, you see all the little plays that ‘Leesh’ was making.”

Gray, who earned AP Player of the Week honors for her efforts, is averaging 18.7 points this season and has scored in double figures in every game. It is five more points a game than her previous best.

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With their three wins, the Dream moved up to fifth in the AP WNBA power poll. Atlanta has made a move with point guards Danielle Robinson (knee) and Aari McDonald (torn labrum) sidelined with injuries. Rookie Haley Jones averaged 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 goals during the winning streak.

“Haley has done a really good job of coming in and bringing what she brings to the table from that position. We’re happy to see her grow. At the beginning she was playing nervous and timid, but she’s getting better. That’s definitely positive,” Wright said in New York. “She will only succeed by gaining the experience of playing against the best team.”

Jones took time out on the road trip to get back to Stanford and participate in graduation ceremonies on Saturday.

AP WNBA poll

Las Vegas remained atop the AP WNBA poll for the sixth week in a row. Connecticut and New York followed the Aces despite the losses to Atlanta. Washington and Atlanta were next. Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago followed the Dream poll, Indiana, Seattle, Minnesota and Phoenix

Griner watch

Griner is recovering from a hip injury she suffered last week against Seattle. The All-Star center missed games in Washington and New York after being ruled out about 20 minutes before each game. She took part in warmups and coach Vanessa Nygaard said she was day-to-day. The Mercury have a home game against Las Vegas on Wednesday before traveling to Seattle to play the Storm on Saturday.

Game of the week

Indiana at Las Vegas, Saturday. The first of consecutive games between these two teams. They also play again on Monday. The Aces won the first meeting between the teams 84-80 in Indiana on June 4. It’s a game for former South Carolina players A’ja Wilson and Aliyah Boston.

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