Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Well, another loss for the Dream. The loss puts the Dream at 0-10 for the year, which ties for second place the WNBA record of Most Consecutive Losses to start a season. The co-holder of that second place record is the Houston Comets, who beat the Dream tonight 88-79 where the Dream seemed to be behind fate's eight-ball from the beginning. We won the opening tip-off, but we would only lead two more times the rest of the game, both in the first quarter.
1) The Comets started off slow, shooting 3 for 10 as early as 5:12 left in the first. Tina Thompson started out particularly slow. The typical story is a sequence when Thompson stole the ball, then threw it to Iziane Castro Marques, who was then fouled by Shannon Johnson.
2) However, the Dream were 0-3 in three point shooting in the first. The typical dumb mistakes vexed the Dream. Ivory Latta got called for an eight-second backcourt violation when she fell down. So it goes.
3) The Atlanta announcer seemed to have trouble adjusting to conditions at the Reliant Center. Scoreboards not working, and the Reliant usually isn't well lit anyway. I switched the audio feed to the Comets announcer, who I figured was used to the conditions.
4) Some great comments from the Comets announcer, Craig Ackerman:
"There are more late whistles in the WNBA than in any other league at any other level I've seen".
"The Atlanta Dream are wearing powder blue. You could call it Houston Oiler blue."
5) The Comet quickly pulled out to a lead, leading by 10 points twice in the second quarter. A last second layup by Maiga-Ba managed to beat the buzzer and let the Comets go to a 45-35 lead.
6) Lots of hackage. By halftime, there were 30 personal fouls. Atlanta 16, Houston 14.
7) Iziane Castro Marques. She's back, and she's playing for the Dream! But she only played for about six minutes in the first half, with a grand total of one rebound...and zero points.
8) Atlanta continued to give a lot of open looks to Houston. At one point, Houston led by 15 in the third quarter, 50-35. By this time, three Comets players were in double figures and it looked like a rout was on. However, Atlanta had the hot hand and went 5-7 from the floor at time, going 3-3 in three point shots.
The continual fouling called by the referees (I doubt players from either team had much to do it, the refs were whistle-happy) kept bringing Atlanta back to the line. The free trips to the line began to eat the Comet's lead away. With Houston ahead 65-54, the Dream scored ten consecutive free throws to close the gap to wihin one point, 65-64 in the third quarter. Houston would take a 69-64 lead into the fourth.
9) It was fun listening to the Houston announcer moan and complain about the endless foul calling, which slowed the game to glacial proportions. I thought he was going stir crazy.
10) In the fourth quarter, Houston went on a 6-2 run to start and never looked back. The foul counter went to 50 for the game....then sixty....
11) The BIG statistic:
Betty Lennox: 29 points, 11 rebounds
Ivory Latta: 21 points -- a career high
Everyone else on the dream: 29 points
12) Comments by Houston announcer:
On Feenstra's mobility: "You couldn't get a credit card between Feenstra's feet."
"Houston has controlled this game from start to finish."
On the endless foul shooting: "We're never going to get out of here."
13) Jennifer Lacy fouls out. Betty Lennox looks for one of an endless set of fouls in the fourth quarters, doesn't get the call, complains about it...and earns a technical foul. Houston led 83-77 at that point, and the Dream would only score two more points in the game.
FINAL: Comets 88, Dream 79
14) Houston had five players score in double figures (Thompson, Snow, Johnson, White, Ajavon). If Maiga-Ba had scored as much as one point, they would have six players score. Houston, clearly, was running on all cylinders, while Atlanta only had two.
To wrap it up, its hard not to be discouraged when a quarter of the season is over and you still haven't won. However, there's something to be gained in adversity if you keep your eyes open. You learn just how easy it is to take yourself out of a game if you're not careful, and you learn that given the low percentage shooting from the floor in most WNBA games (the Dream shot 42.6 percent), there are places in games where you can make a run and steal a lead. The Dream simply need to learn how to get it and keep it.