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2012 WNBA Playoffs: Atlanta begins quest for 3rd straight Finals appearance

The Atlanta Dream begin their quest for a third straight WNBA Finals appearance when they square off against the Indiana Fever in a best-of-three matchup.

Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Its been an up and down season for the Atlanta Dream in 2012 but they find themselves right back in the playoffs as they begin their quest for a third straight WNBA Finals appearance.

The season began with a roster turnover that included the retirements of Shalee Lehning and Allison Bales in addition to the departures of Iziane Castro-Marques and Coco Miller. Then just as the team emerged from the Olympic break they were rocked again as scoring champ Angel McCoughtry was suspended from the team which eventually led to the departure of longtime head coach Marynell Meadors.

Fred Williams took over for Meadors and promptly suspended McCoughtry himself. The team weathered the storm and McCoughtry was eventually reinstated as Atlanta won seven of their last 10 games to finish 19-15 on the season and capture the 3rd seed in the playoffs.

The Indiana Fever finished 22-12 and with the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Fever took three of the five matchups from the Dream during the regular season. Indiana is not short on star power boasting former MVP Tameka Catchings and sharpshooter Katie Douglas. They are also one of the league's best defensive teams holding opponents to just 72.3 points per game this season.

The Fever however could be without two key contributors in Briann January and Shevonte Zellous who both missed the last three games of the regular season with concussion symptoms. Both players status is uncertain heading into Thursday's series opener.

Here is a look at the playoff schedule for the Conference semifinals between the Atlanta Dream and the Indiana Fever:

Game 1 - Sept 28 @ Indiana - 7 p.m. ET - ESPN2
Game 2 - Sept 30 @ Atlanta - 4 p.m. ET - ESPN2
Game 3 - Oct 02 @ Indiana - TBD - Live Access (If Necessary)

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.