Atlanta has already overcame one player leaving the team to take part in an Olympic qualifying competition. Earlier this season, forward Sancho Lyttle missed six games while playing for the Spanish National team and then missed six more after returning to the Dream with a back injury. Lyttle's absence along with injuries to other players played a big part in the Dream's 3-9 start to the season.
Erika De Souza's departure to join the Brazilian National team is much more challenging because it comes right in the middle of the WNBA Playoffs and with the Dream facing elimination. Reserve center Allison Bales will likely start in place of De Souza and thinks that all of the lineup juggling the Dream had to do this season will help them now.
"All year we have overcome adversity, and people have stepped up," Dream center Alison Bales said Saturday. "I think that's what we are going to do now."
De Souza will miss the remainder of the East Finals but is expected to return to the team if Atlanta is able to win the next two games and advance to the WNBA Finals.
"Brazil put a lot of pressure on Erika to go, so she left," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said.