Friday, July 11, 2008

2008/19 - Dream 73, Lynx 67

Do the Dream have all their problems behind them?

Amazingly, the Dream have won a second straight game. Who would believe that after seventeen straight losses the Dream would have a winning streak? (Hey, two games is a winning streak!) I just hope that these fumes don't go right to our heads when we play the Silver Stars in San Antonio tonight.

I decided to enjoy the night at Front Page News in downtown Atlanta where the viewing party was. Unfortunately, there was a problem: most of the attendees were in groups, and when you're the lone guy out with no one to talk to it can get mighty damn lonely. To further add to the humiliation, I was assigned a table -- sort of like the lone kid in kindergarten.

The guy I was sitting with was nice, but neither of us could get a conversational vibe started. The food wasn't that great. (Although I knew that going in.) And then I just told myself, "Why am I sitting here feeling lonely when I could go home and watch the game on CSS?" At which point I skedaddled sometime after the beginning of the third quarter.

Maybe I'll meet Curtis at the next Dream game and say hello. In the meantime, here is my somewhat abridged report of our second win ever, and first win on the road. It's kind of hard to take notes in a festive atmosphere with a lot of distractions.

1) Starting for the Dream: Iziane Castro Marques. There's been a lot of complaints that Iziane didn't deserve to take Tamera Young's sport from her. My only explanations for why Coach Meadors went to Izi instead of Young are

a) Coach Meadors's explanation -- the Dream have had crappy first quarters, and Izi brings veteran experience. It also shakes up the first quarter lineup.
b) Meadors knows Izi from before this season, and likes her. Favoritism.
c) Izi has a deep seated psychological need to be the center of attention. As any Brazilian women's basketball fan can tell you. (See: Madrid Olympic Qualifier, 2008.)

2) This plan, as might have been expected, fell flat. Izi was a massive bust. She scored one rebound, one assist, two field goal attempts (one from three point land), and zero points. She would be replaced by the person who should have started, Tamera Young -- Izi would make another no-show appearance in the third quarter.

Which leads me to my rant. IZI MUST GO. After she bailed out at Madrid, abandoned her team and has never apologized for it, I think she's a head case.

3) It stayed bad. By 4:27 in the first quarter, we had scored a grand total of two points and I had flashbacks to that Fever-Mystics game I watched on TV where the Fever scored like 14 points in the first half. Coach Meadors was forced to call a time out.

Feenstra came in for Lacy. Kit missed two jump shots. She got a rebound, but had it ripped out of her hands. Meadors, flashing back to the effectiveness of the Ruth Riley/Ann Wauters combo in San Antonio, put Alison Bales out there with Feenstra. Bales lost the handle on the ball to Vanessa Hayden of the Lynx, but when Lindsey Harding went up for the layup for Minnesota, Bales was already on the other end and blocked the shot! Amazing. Given what I've seen of Bales and what I've seen of Feenstra, I know who I like better.

4) Despite Bales's heroics, we were down 19-6 at the end of the first quarter. Incidentally, at one point in the Dream-Sky game we were down 19-6. First quarter shooting was horrible. We were down 3-18 or 3-21 or something like that.

5) As the second quarter got under way, the Dream began to dig their way out. After being down 21-6, we went on a 10-2 run. Young made a last second bucket. Then Bales. Then Latta. Then Bales again. Then Latta again.

Candice Wiggins made a couple of free throws and Charde Houston made a bucket, but Ivory Latta answered back with a three-pointer. Back and forth it went.

Bales made two buckets. She had eight points, and they would be the last points she scored during the game. The Lynx ended with a fastbreak bucket by Candice Wiggins as time expired and the Lynx led 38-26 at halftime.

6) Free throws in first half: Lynx 8/9, Dream 1/4.

7) With the score 42-30 Lynx in the third quarter with 7:12 to go, I decided to make my escape. I would have to depend on good ol Art Eckman on AM Radio 1230/1340 to keep me company on the drive back. I wouldn't get a chance to turn the game to CSS until the fourth quarter.

The further I got from Front Page News, the more the signal began to fade out. It was then that I missed Noox deciding to kick some serious Lynx ass in the third. From what I can tell by reading the boxscore and the play by play, Noox scored 14 of her 24 points in the third quarter and closed the third quarter with two free throws that put the Dream only five down, 54-49 going into the fourth.

8) By the time I got home and flipped on CSS, there was 6:42 to go in the fourth quarter. Lennox had just hit another couple of free throws to bring her point total to 22 and close the Dream to within one point with Minnesota leading 57-56.

To say that I was optimistic doesn't capture my mood. I knew that Minnesota had only beaten us by four points at Atlanta. I knew that Minnesota had a lot of rookies. I knew that we rallied against the Sky and that we were fresh off that win.

9) With the score 62-58, the CSS announcers were commenting how tired Noox was. They were right. She would only score 2 points in the second half of the fourth.

10) Down by four with 2:36 remaining, Alison Bales -- who finally had a name on the back of her jersey -- picked up her eighth rebound of the game. With eight points and eight rebounds, she was threatening a double-double.

11) With under two minutes, the Lynx were leading by three. Wiggins made a three point shot and missed it. Bales picked up her ninth rebound! The Dream went back down the court quickly, Kristin Haynie threw it to Jennifer Lacy, who made the layup. We were down by two! And Lacy was fouled by Nicky Anosike!

12) Lacy makes the free throw. Tie game. 66-66. Crunch time.

13) Lacy fouls Nicky Anosike with 1:37 left. The Tennessee rookie has only been shooting about 70 percent from the free throw line.

Neither of Anosike's two free throws fall! And Bales picks up rebound #10!

14) Tamera Young makes the basket putting Atlanta in the lead for the very first time in the game, 68-66, with 1:30 to go. Nicole Ohlde makes a jump shot for the Lynx that misses with 1:14 left. Pigtails gets the rebound, and Noox gets fouled by Quinn with 1:02 to go. Lennox makes one of the two free throws and scores her final point of the night. The Dream are up 69-66.

15) Minnesota can't hit anything. Augustus tries a shot and misses. Nicole Ohlde gets the rebound, and Lacy picks up her fourth foul of the night.

Minnesota needs these two free throws. She misses the first one! However, she hits the second.

Dream lead 69-67. Only 50 seconds left, and they have possession.

16) Kristin Haynie gets the ball and magically drives right in to the bucket for an easy layup! Something broke down in the Minnesota defence! 71-67 Dream!

The ball goes back into Nicole Ohlde's hands. With 24 seconds left, Nicole Ohlde tries for a shot -- and it's blocked by Bales! Who gets the rebound! It's then Lennox to Lacy and we make the next shot which kills any chance of a combeack. 73-67 with fifteen seconds left.

It's been an awful fourth quarter for the Lynx. Seimone Augustus has the ball, and she makes a pass that ends up in Kristin Haynie's hands.

FINAL SCORE: Dream 73, Lynx 67. It is the first ever road win for the Dream, who go to 2-17.

WHOA. What a game, for everyone watching it. The Dream have learned the motto of Galaxy Quest: "Never give up. Never surrender."

With Alison Bales to help out, not only did we outshoot the Lynx 44 percent to 36 percent, we rebounded them as well, 43-33. Minnesota's starters are so talented that that score is hard to believe.

The Dream won the last three quarters. We picked up momentum and after that, we were hard to stop. Two wins in a row. Who could have thought it? Now let's get that third win on Friday night. I want at least four wins this year! I'm starting to get greedy!

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