Saturday, August 8, 2009
Uh...is this over the back? No, because there's no illegal contact.
The Dream have won four games in a row and are a perfect 3-0 after the All-Star break. They are undoubtedly the hottest team in the WNBA right now, and it takes a lot to go to San Antonio's home court and beat a lineup with Becky Hammon, Sophia Young, Ann Wauters and Vickie Johnson. Let's take a look at the Dream's amazing victory.
Field goal percentage: The Dream shot 48.8 percent from the floor, but their effectiveness was diminished by their 2-for-13 shooting from beyond the arc - they still can't hit the three. However, with the two threes the Dream's effective field goal percentage is 50 percent. The Silver Stars shot 40.6 percent with an effective field goal percentage of 43.4 percent. Five points of difference in field goal percentage can mean one or two extra baskets for teams that take the same amount of shots - and the Dream took 80 shots to San Antonio's 69.
Turnovers: The Dream turned the ball over just 12 times, compared to 14 for the Silver Stars. A virtual tie.
Offensive rebounds: In overall offensive boards, the Dream had 17 to the Silver Stars' 12. Their offensive rebounding percentage was 43.6 percent compared to San Antonio's 31.5 percent. The Dream simply dominated San Antonio on the boards despite the presence of San Antonio's big posts.
Free throw visits: San Antonio is the clear winner here, going to the line 33 times compared to 18 times by the Dream. San Antonio hit 72.7 percent of their shots - which isn't much, but it was a lot better than Atlanta's 66.7 percent. Those are European free-throw numbers. The Dream need some more practice at the line.
And now, let's look at the Silver Stars:
Becky Hammon: 26 points, 6 rebounds. However, her 9-for-22 shooting was lousy. She took almost 1/3 of San Antonio's shots. This provided a hidden key - guard Becky Hammon, because she's going to shoot anyway.
Sophia Young: 23 points and 9 rebounds. She was close to a double-double, but she also had 4 turnovers and 4 personal fouls.
Ann Wauters: 12 points, 5 rebounds. Also 4 personal fouls.
The Silver Stars Bench: 14 points. Compare that to 24 points from Atlanta's bench.
So how well did the Dream do? We'll go player by player....
Chamique Holdsclaw: The Claw scored 21 points to lead all Atlanta players, and scored 7 rebounds and 4 assists. She shot 53 percent from the field...but....
Sancho Lyttle: ...Lyttle scored 13 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, and hit 2 out of every 3 field goals (6-for-9). Who was more important to the Dream? It's a tough call, so for the first time ever, Chamique Holdsclaw AND Sancho Lyttle are the co-Dreamers of the Game.
Iziane Castro Marques: Castro Marques has had some good games recently. Is the "Izi Effect" - the effect where Castro Marques's best games come when the Dream lose - dead? I don't know, but Iziane Castro Marques scored 17 points and 4 assists, with 7-for-15 shooting.
Shalee Lehning: She scored 9 points, tying her career high in points scored, and had 7 assists. Remember when I said after the Atlanta/New York game that that was Lehning's best game of the year? Well, forget that, because this was Lehning's best game of the year. Her +13 in plus/minus was tied with both Iziane Castro Marques and Michelle Snow in raw plus/minus. If Lehning keeps having games like this, the wins will keep coming.
Michelle Snow: There are so many players fighting for playing time who are playing well, and Snow is one of them. 11 points and 7 rebounds in just 17 minutes. If she played longer, she would have had a double-double like Lyttle.
Erika de Souza: The Beast from Brazil hasn't had many good games lately, and this one was at best okay. She picked up a questionable Michael Price technical foul, and had just 8 points and 6 rebounds. That's an off-night for Erika de Souza.
Angel McCoughtry: Nothing to write home about. 11 points, but it was on 4-for-14 shooting and had three turnovers and a shot blocked. Hey, if everyone is having great nights McCoughtry can just fade in the background.
Coco Miller: 2 points in 4 minutes. She took a shot and she hit it.
Jennifer Lacy: 0 points in 7 minutes. She blocked a shot and had a personal foul, which kept her from a "trillion".
Tamera Young: Did not play.
There has been some discussion elsewhere as to why Tamera Young is not playing. Supposedly, as long as Chamique Holdsclaw, Iziane Castro Marques and Angel McCoughtry are all healthy and ready to play, Young has been buried in fourth place on the Atlanta bench. As one commenter somewhere said, "Either play her or send her on her merry way so somebody else can capitalize on her abilities. She can produce in the W. She just needs the right team and I don't think Atlanta is it." (We are nine days away from the WNBA's trade deadline on August 17th.)
Ivory Latta: Missed each of the three shots she took, and one was a 3-pointer. Went to the free throw line twice. Missed both shots. Only played nine minutes. Latta is Still Snoozin' but Atlanta could afford to let her sleep. However, with the playoffs coming up soon we need everyone awake.