Finally back after the extended 2012 Summer Olympics break, the WNBA season enters its final stretch, with playoff positioning and conference ranking up for grabs around the league.
After the end of the first post-Olympics week action, the Atlanta Dream were positioned squarely in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings, third place at 10-11, six games back of the division-leading Connecticut Sun.
In two games since resuming play post-Olympics, the Dream recorded a victory over the Chicago Sky and a loss to the Indiana Fever. The Fever stand in between the Dream and the Sun, three games back of Connecticut at 12-7 on the year.
With 13 games remaining on the season, the Dream will look to make up some of the ground on the Fever and Sun. If the season ended today, the No. 3 seed Dream would be scheduled to take on No. 2 Fever in a three game set in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with the Fever holding home court advantage with the better record.
The Indiana Fever may have dealt a blow Atlanta Dream's chances of repeating as the WNBA's Eastern Conference champions in 2012 with an 86-72 win on Saturday night.
Katie Douglas poured in 29 points for the Fever and Tamika Catchings added 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Angel McCoughtry had 22 points to lead the Dream, but just two other Atlanta players scored in double figures.
The win is Indiana's second over Atlanta this season, and it drops the Dream to 10-12 on the year with just 13 games remaining. That's still good for third in the Eastern Conference, but the Dream will likely need to beat out the Fever -- who moved to 13-7 with the win -- to have home court advantage in even the first round of the 2012 WNBA Playoffs. The Dream trail Indiana 2-1 in the season series.
Then again, the Dream made the WNBA Finals in 2010 and 2011 as the fourth and third seed in the East, respectively. So maybe home court's not quite so important to McCoughtry's squad?