The Atlanta Dream will open their 2012 regular season schedule Saturday night when they travel to Indiana to take on the Fever. Atlanta defeated the Fever in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals 2-1 to advance to the Finals where they lost to the Minnesota Lynx.
Atlanta's core group returns led by All-Star Angel McCoughtry and Lindsey Harding. The Dream also return starters Sancho Lyttle, Armintie Price and Erika de Souza who won't join the team until after the Olympics.
While most of the starters return, Atlanta's bench will look much differently after the departures of Iziane Castro Marques, Shalee Lehning, Allison Bales and Coco Miller. Castro Marques is a free agent and hasn't signed with any WNBA team yet. Lehning and Bales both elected to retire. Miller was cut in the final days of training camp. In there place are Ketia Swanier, Cathrine Kraayeveld, Laurie Koehn and rookie Tiffany Hayes.
Atlanta still has plenty of offensive firepower but they want to concentrate on improving their team defense in 2012 according to head coach Marynell Meadors.
"We're going to concentrate on improving defensively this year. It's been a great accomplishment, reaching two WNBA finals, but we want to take that next step and win it."
The Dream will be focused on slowing down 2011 MVP Tameka Catchings who is healed from the foot injury that she suffered during the playoffs last season against the Dream. The Fever also get back Briann January who missed all of last season with a torn ACL and sharpshooter Katie Douglas.
For more on the Atlanta Dream check out Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation's Women's Hoops blog Swish Appeal.