For the past two seasons, the Atlanta Dream has reigned supreme as the Eastern Conference champions of the WNBA.
However, they have fallen short of the ultimate goal: A WNBA Championship.
The Dream opened up their 2012 season Friday night in Atlanta with a 100-74 thrashing over the New York Liberty. Angel McCoughtry led the way in this one with 23 points, seven assists, six steals , and five rebounds. Lindsey Harding also dropped 19 points, and every member of the team scored at least one field goal, as they shot 49 percent from the field, and 50 percent from three-point range (9/18). Atlanta was able to force 22 turnovers and get out in the open floor in this game from start to finish. They led 28-18 after the first quarter. The Liberty went on a 7-0 run and got within three points after a Kia Vaughn jumper. However, after that, Atlanta never looked back en route to the 26-point blowout win.
Coming off their big win on Friday night, the Dream took the court Sunday to take on the Indiana Fever. This was a rematch of their 92-84 loss at Indiana to open up the season. And, Atlanta was unable to take advantage of the opportunity for revenge, as they fell 78-62 to the Fever. Tamika Catchings was huge in this game. She scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. McCoughtry led the way for the Dream with 21 points and three other players were also in double figures (Harding with 13, Sancho Lyttle had 11, and Yelena Leuchanka had 10 points). The bench was only held to two points in this game, and the team as a whole was forced into 22 turnovers. The loss put Atlanta to 1-2 on the season.
Atlanta has a great outlook, keep in mind that they are without one of their top players, Erika de Souza, who is training for the Olympics with her native Brazil. Slow starts are not strange to the Dream, only one time in their history have they started above .500 after three games (3-0 in 2010), but they always seem to get it together towards the end of the season.
Head coach Marynell Meadors has done a spectacular job constructing and coaching this team, and they should be the favorites to win a third straight Eastern Conference crown. Their biggest competition in the East comes from Indiana and the Connecticut Sun. However, they have had issues with teams in the West in the WNBA Finals (0-6 in two appearances), but they have a good chance to attempt to climb that mountain and bring the first basketball championship to Atlanta.
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