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Castro-Marques, McCoughtry help Dream hold off Silver Stars

SAN ANTONIO -- Iziane Castro-Marques scored 23 points and Angel McCoughtry added 20 as the Atlanta Dream held off the San Antonio Silver Stars 75-70 on Saturday night in the WNBA season opener for both teams.

Castro-Marques scored the first four points of the second half on consecutive fast-break layups.

"It was just beginning the third quarter, so I was fresh," Castro-Marques said. "It was a first step to set the tone at the time, and I just tried to play as aggressive as I started.

"We just tried to set the tone from the beginning, and we did a good job just trying to get steals, rebounds and run."

McCoughtry scored seven points in an 11-1 run midway through the first quarter to put Atlanta up for good. The Dream were more active on both ends of the floor, outrebounding San Antonio 55-44, forcing 21 turnovers -- although they committed 22 -- and blocking five shots.

"That's the approach for every game this season," McCoughtry said. "We know we're not a big team this year, so we've got to set the tone mentally. There's going to be a lot of teams bigger than us, so mentally if we can set the tone, then we show we're not afraid."

Even when Atlanta didn't score, it proved to be the aggressor. The Dream attempted (and missed) five field goals in one 9-second stretch in the second period, thanks to four consecutive offensive rebounds.

"Have you ever seen anything like that?" Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "I think we were padding our rebounding. I really thought we played hard all the way through. We were just persistent."

Sancho Lyttle scored 16 points, and Erika de Souza added 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Dream. Both had limited practice time this week after belatedly joining the Dream following extended seasons in Europe.

Becky Hammon scored seven of her 20 points in the fourth period for San Antonio, but also missed two 3-pointers late in the game, including one that would have cut the Silver Stars' deficit -- which was 12 points four minutes earlier -- to one with 13.8 seconds left.

"We did some things that weren't like us," Hammon said. "We didn't make free throws (8 of 16), we turned the ball over a lot. So those are things we have to clean up. They're things we can fix."

Sophia Young, another player whose European season meant a late start with her WNBA team, scored six of the Silver Stars' first nine points and finished with 15.

The Silver Stars led 13-12 early on when a steal and a layup by Castro-Marques started Atlanta's decisive first-quarter run.

Atlanta led by nine at the half and by 16 early in the third quarter before Young and Hammon led a Silver Stars surge that closed the gap to 58-52 entering the fourth period.