Things went from bad to worse for the Atlanta Dream as they prepared for Game 2 of the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals. After dropping Game 1 in Indiana 82-74, the Dream learned that they would be without their starting center Erika De Souza for the remainder of the Eastern Conference Finals as she has left the team to play for the Brazilian National team in the FIBA Americas Tournament for Women.
Allison Bales is expected to get the start on Sunday in De Souza's absence but replacing De Souza's 12 points and 10.7 rebounds in the playoffs will have to fall on the entire team and not just one player. Indiana out rebounded Atlanta 41-38 in their Game 1 victory and flipping that around has to be huge priority for Marynell Meadors squad in Game 2. Reserves Sandora Irvin and Courtney Paris could also see a boost in playing time today as both have combined to play just a single minute in the playoffs thus far.
For the most part, Angel McCoughtry has found things tough in the playoffs as opposing teams have routinely ran extra defenders her way in an effort to force someone else from the Dream to beat them. In Game 1 against Indiana, McCoughtry was saddled with foul trouble that limited her to just 17 minutes in the game and just 11 points. Atlanta will need a more vintage McCoughtry performance today if they hope to overcome the loss of Erika De Souza.
If this team showed us anything during the regular season it is that they perform best with their backs against the wall. After starting 3-9 on the season, Atlanta rallied to finish the season at 20-14. They battled injury and constantly shuffled the lineup around so don't be surprised if Meadors is once again able to rally her squad in the face of adversity.