PHOENIX - AUGUST 26: Becky Hammon #25 of the San Antonio Silver Stars handles the ball under pressure from Temeka Johnson #2 of the Phoenix Mercury in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 WNBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on August 26 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
1 Total Update since June 26, 2011
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
There is no such things as moral victories in the WNBA but if there were then Atlanta's 92-86 loss to San Antonio might be considered as much. For 38 minutes, the Dream looked more like the team that came into this season with all of the high expectations. However, the game slipped away late for Atlanta and sets up a potential must win situation for their next game on Thursday against the New York Liberty.
The Dream led this game 78-71 late in the fourth and was outscored 21-8 over the final moments of the game. Jia Perkins led the way for the Silver Stars with 25 points and eight rebounds. Danielle Adams finished with 19 while Becky Hammon finished with 17 points and six assists.
Coco Miller came off the bench to lead the Dream with 19 points. Angel McCoughtry finished with 15 points and eight rebounds in just under 20 minutes of action. Lindsey Harding finished with 13 points but missed two big free throws late when Atlanta had a chance to tie the game.
A good sign for the Dream was that they were able to out rebound the Silver Stars 45-35 and that fueled their running game early. 18 of Atlanta's 24 fast break points came in the first half. The Dream are clearly at their best when they can get in transition and look for options off of their primary and secondary break. When in the halfcourt, Atlanta turned to Erika de Souza who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. In the second half, de Souza was held scoreless going 0-7 from the field.
Still Atlanta was able to overcome an early deficit in the third quarter with their bench having a major impact. Armintie Price came off the bench to score nine points and hand out five assists and her energy appeared to infect her teammates at both ends of the floor. Courtney Paris also had a big impact with seven points and 11 rebounds.
The Dream got enough from their role players to win this game but couldn't find the magic from their starters when they had to have it the most. The important thing will be to take the positive from this performance and carry it into the next game. Sometimes even a good team like Atlanta can forget how to win and getting over that isn't always easy.
After the game, coach Meadors pointed out that the team is 1-1 when all of its players were in the lineup and that win was arguably their best showing of the season. Forward Sancho Lyttle will be back with the team soon. The challenge in the mean time is not to fall so far out of the race that they won't have time to get it turned around.
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almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The Atlanta Dream will complete their season series with the San Antonio Silver Stars this afternoon when the two teams meet at Philips Arena. Atlanta lost the first meeting 86-74. Silver Stars rookie Danielle Adams scored 32 points in the first meeting and currently leads all WNBA rookies with a 15.3 points per game average.
The Dream fell to 2-6 on the season after a 92-83 loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Friday. Angel McCoughtry led Atlanta with 24 points but shot just 7-21 from the field. The Dream did a much better job limiting their turnovers in that game but their defense continued to struggle as Phoenix shot over 52 percent from the floor.
So many of Atlanta's problems can be traced back to the defensive end of the floor. Players like McCoughtry and Iziane Castro Marques are at their best when they are in transition and Atlanta's defense hasn't been producing a lot of opportunities. When forced to play in the half court set, the Dream's offense has repeatedly broken down into too many isolation situations. After averaging just 10.6 points this season after averaging a career high 16.9 per game last season.
Atlanta is still without the services of All-Star forward Sancho Lyttle who is playing with the Spanish National Team in the 2011 Eurobasket Women tournament. Her replacement on the Dream roster, Courtney Paris has been a bright spot. Paris played just under 20 minutes against the Mercury scoring 13 points and eight rebounds. In three games with the club, Paris is averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds a game.
The Silver Stars come into today's game with a 5-1 mark good enough for first place in the Western Conference. San Antonio is led by point guard Becky Hammon who is averaging 18.3 points and 7.3 assists this season. The Silver Stars have four different players averaging at least 15 points per game and will be a tall test for Atlanta's defense.