Bentley returns to Atlanta, happy for change of scenery
NEW YORK — Alex Bentley is happy to be back in familiar surroundings following her surprising trade to Atlanta from Connecticut last week.
The former All-Star guard had spent the past five seasons with the Sun after getting traded there from Atlanta following her rookie season.
She’ll get a chance to play against her former team on Tuesday night when the Dream visit the Sun. One story line to watch will be the interaction between Bentley and former teammate Courtney Williams.
A person familiar with the situation says the players had a physical altercation on the bus in Seattle at the beginning of the month. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not publicly discussed the incident.
The Sun said Williams missed the Sun’s west coast trip for personal reasons. She returned to the Connecticut lineup after Bentley was traded on July 9.
Bentley declined to comment on the incident, but said she is looking forward to her return to Connecticut.
“I have wonderful memories in Connecticut and great friends there,” Bentley said in a phone interview. “I’m grateful for my time there. But I’m happy for a chance to go back where I started my career and play for a coach I know well.”
Atlanta’s coach Nicki Collen was an assistant with Connecticut before getting the Dream’s head job this season. Bentley is playing a similar role in Atlanta as a vital player off the bench.
“I’m excited for the chance to help Atlanta out,” Bentley said.
The Dream have won all three of their games since acquiring Bentley and moved up to sixth in Tuesday’s AP power poll:
POWER POLL: A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1. Seattle (16-6): Storm have created a little space between themselves and the rest of the league. They have a big road trip looming heading into the All-Star break.
2. Phoenix (15-8): Mercury are still trying to adjust to life without Sancho Lyttle (knee). Phoenix finished off a disappointing four-game road trip with losses in Dallas and Connecticut before beating Indiana.
3. Los Angeles (14-9): Candace Parker has upped her game and the Sparks seem to have righted their problems. Parker just missed a triple-double in LA’s win over Las Vegas on Sunday.
4. Washington (13-9): Mystics were swept in a home-and-home series with Atlanta, but still look like a contender for top playoff spot.
5. Dallas (12-9): Wings saw a five-game winning streak end in Seattle, but still are one of the rising teams in the league.
6. Atlanta (12-9): Finally healthy, the Dream are playing well lately with many offensive threats for coach Nicki Collen.
7. Connecticut (12-10): Quality wins over Phoenix and Minnesota have set the Sun up for a solid run down the stretch.
8. Minnesota (12-10): Losses at home to both Indiana and Las Vegas have left the Lynx with lots of questions.
9. Las Vegas (10-13): Aces are putting on quite a show in their first season in Las Vegas behind the stellar inside-outside combo of A’ja Wilson and Kayla McBride.
10. New York (7-14): Liberty tied the franchise record for points in a game with 107 against Chicago. Two wins in a row have given the New York a little momentum to make a postseason run.
11. Chicago (7-15): A three-game skid has left the Sky in danger of missing the postseason again.
12. Indiana (2-20): Veteran Cappie Pondexter has provided a lift for the Fever since they signed the guard.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Candace Parker averaged 25.3 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists to help the Sparks go 2-1 this week. Other players receiving votes were Jessica Breland, Kayla McBride and Skylar Diggins-Smith,
Elena Delle Donne became the fastest player to reach 3,000 points this week when she did it in her 148th game, a loss to Atlanta on Sunday. The previous record-holders, Diana Taurasi and Seimone Augustus, needed 151 games.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Storm at Sky, Wednesday. Seattle begins a five-game road swing in Chicago. The Storm make stops in Connecticut, Atlanta, Indiana and Phoenix after visiting the Windy City.
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg
To find the poll online: https://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-power-poll-week-10-0
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