Neither the Atlanta Dream or the Seattle Storm are exactly where a lot of prognosticators thought they would be at this point in the season. After last season's match up in the WNBA Finals, both teams seemed poised to be in position to adequately defend their respective conference crowns. The reality has been that both teams were hit with injuries and although Seattle is weathering the storm without the reigning MVP Lauren Jackson, Atlanta is having to fight for their playoff lives.
Seattle's 12-8 record doesn't look very impressive until you consider that Lauren Jackson has played in only five games and was far from her MVP self in those games. The Storm behind point guard Sue Bird and Swin Cash, have won three games in a row and climbed into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with San Antonio. Both remain 3.5 games behind first place Minnesota but you have to think that the Storm would be really happy to nail down the second seed knowing that they are going to get Jackson back sooner rather than later.
Atlanta has dropped two straight games after a five game winning streak that got them back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. They begin play today with an 8-11 record and just percentage points behind the Chicago Sky for the fourth and final playoff spot. Atlanta doesn't have a favorable schedule the rest of the way with nine of their remaining 15 games on the road including a trip to Seattle and Phoenix next week. The Dream also have two games remaining with the Eastern Conference leading Indiana Fever.
Angel McCoughtry has continued her torrid month even in the last two games which she coincidentally didn't start. McCoughtry scored a game high 24 points in 26 minutes of action. When asked about the reasoning behind McCoughtry not starting, Atlanta Dream coach Marynell Meadors replied that the move was simply a "coaching decision".
Whatever the reason, Atlanta has seemingly shuffled players in and out of the lineup the entire season and if they are going to get on another winning streak they are going to have to begin to nail down a solid rotation soon. Forward Sancho Lyttle has returned to action from a back injury and Armintie Price has supplanted Iziane Castro Marques in the starting lineup. The latest player lost to the injury bug is back up point guard Shalee Lehning who was lost for the season with a torn ACL. That will force Meadors to mix and match behind starter Lindsey Harding with Coco Miller likely drawing most of the playing time as the back up point guard.