The Atlanta Dream will be without starting center Erika De Souza for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals as she wraps up her stint with the Brazilian National Team. The final game of the FIBA Americas Tournament for Women is scheduled for Saturday in Columbia. After the game, de Souza will be forced to take a three-hour bus trip to Bogota so that she can catch a flight to Minneapolis. She is expected to be ready to take the floor for the Dream in Game 2 on Wednesday.
"She is going to be exhausted but she will be ready to go," Meadors said. "She is so happy to re-join this team."
With De Souza out for Game 1, Atlanta will likely continue with the small ball starting lineup that they were successful with against Indiana. Coach Meadors inserted Iziane Castro Marques into the starting lineup and she responded by scoring 53 points over the course of the next two games.
It is expected that de Souza will return to the starting lineup for Game 2 but coach Meadors now has the luxury of seeing whether or not the smaller lineup can be effective in Game 1. De Souza is one of Atlanta's best rebounders and interior defenders and her size may be critical in trying to slow down Minnesota's Rebekkah Brunson.
For more on the WNBA Finals, the Atlanta Dream and the Minnesota Lynx, be sure and check out SB Nation's Women's Hoops blog Swish Appeal.