The task for the Atlanta Dream is not any different than it was in the first round. The first order of business is to steal Game 1 on the road and return home with a chance to close out the series. If they are able to do that this time around they will earn a return trip to the WNBA Finals.
The Dream open the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse against the East's No. 1 seed the Indiana Fever. Atlanta swept the Fever 4-0 during the regular season but Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors doesn't think that means much come playoff time.
"It means nothing," Meadors said. "Absolutely nothing. Right now we’re 2-0 in the playoffs and that’s the way we’re looking at it.
Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry averaged 23.8 points per game against Indiana in the regular season but just 14.0 in the first round against Connecticut as she became the target of constant double-teams. Indiana figures to throw everyone at McCoughtry with Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas drawing the assignment the most. No matter the situation, Atlanta's supporting cast needs to be ready to help shoulder the load offensively just as they did against Connecticut in the first round.
"I think the one thing we do have is the balance," Meadors said. "We have great balance. We don’t really care who shoots it, who rebounds it, who steals it, who defends it. We just work together as a team and I think over the last 17, 18 games I’ve seen us come together as a group. Our chemistry is absolutely awesome right now."
The Dream began the season at 3-9 and looked at times like a team that was going to splinter apart under the weight of some lofty preseason expectations. Through all of that, Meadors was the calming influence as she never panicked and quietly waited for the Dream to get healthy. Once they were whole they finished the season as one of the best teams in the WNBA and look like that team everyone was expecting to see in the preseason.
For more on the WNBA Playoffs and the Atlanta Dream, be sure and check out Swish Appeal.