Something has to give for the Atlanta Dream and soon. With a 2-7 record, they sit dead last in the Eastern Conference and if not for the Tulsa Shock would have the worst record in the WNBA. That is a far cry from the preseason expectations that were heightened by Atlanta's trip to the WNBA Finals last season.
Atlanta's struggles began as players have been shuffled in and out of the lineup due to injury and other commitments. Even now they are without All-Star forward Sancho Lyttle who has left the team to be with the Spanish National Team but is due back soon. Atlanta's last game, a 92-86 loss to San Antonio, was largely one of the Dream's best efforts of the season. However, at this juncture there is hardly any room for moral victories.
The New York Liberty come into tonight's game at 4-4 and in third place in the Eastern Conference. They have won two games in a row behind the improved play of Cappie Pondexter who has topped 20 points in each of the last four games. The Dream and the Liberty have split their previous two meetings this season with Atlanta falling 94-88 in the season opener at Philips Arena. Atlanta bounced back in the second meeting winning 79-58.
Atlanta is searching for answers and coach Marynell Meadors said after the San Antonio loss that they were exploring every option including changes to the lineup to try and help snap the team out of its funk. A great example of Atlanta's struggles this year versus last is the play of Izianne Castro Marques who averaged nearly 17 points per game last season. This season, Castro Marques' scoring is down to 10.3 points per game and is shooting just 33 percent from the field.
Atlanta found out in the opener that the Liberty isn't a one man show behind Pondexter. Essence Carson, Plenette Pearson, and Kia Vaughn all average in double figures and Pearson scored 25 points in the season opening victory.
For more on the Dream and the Liberty, be sure and check out Swish Appeal.