Monday, August 17, 2009
The Dream's 88-79 win over the Seattle Storm on Saturday was interesting on a few levels:
1. It was the Dream's sixth win in the last seven games. The Dream is playing about as hot as anyone can play in the WNBA.
2. It was the fourth time the Dream has beaten a Western Conference team. The Dream is 4-1 against the West this year (they're only 9-10 in their own conference). We've never swept any of the Western Conference teams during the course of a year, but we might be able to pull that off Thursday against San Antonio - we beat the Silver Stars 92-84 on their home ground on August 6th.
The Dream have to stay hot, though, and hope that Detroit and New York can be happy with the role of spoiler rather than actually contending themselves. Out of our last seven games, six are on the road - that might be where our season gets decided.
Let's look at Dean Oliver's Four Factors for this game:
Field goal percentage: Overall, Seattle had a 50.8 percent accuracy rate compared to 46.8 percent from the Dream. Looking at effective field goal percentage, Seattle shot 54.0 percent and the Dream shot 49.3 percent. It's not often that you can beat a team with that kind of accuracy.
Turnovers: Atlanta 15, Seattle 19. We won that battle. Swin Cash actually turned the ball over eight times.
Offensive rebounding: As I wrote earlier, we held the Storm to just one offensive rebound in the first half and four overall. Seattle's offensive rebound rate was 16 percent, the Dream's was 38.9 percent.
That was the game right there. We took 16 more shots than the Storm simply because the ball was in our hands more often. Having more chances to shoot can overcome lower accuracy.
Free throw visits: That one was a wash: Seattle 18, Atlanta 17. They hit one more free throw than we did; both teams shot in the low 70s. Nothing to write home about.
Now, let's look at the individual Seattle players:
Lauren Jackson: 25 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals, 4-for-9 from free throw range. Lauren Jackson is almost a one-player team by herself. She's a threat on the court anywhere she stands.
Tanisha Wright: 12 points. She also had five personal fouls and four turnovers. Those personal fouls limited her effectiveness and weakened the Seattle defense whenever she wasn't on the court.
Swin Cash: 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. However, she had four personal fouls and eight turnovers.
Sue Bird: 8 points...and 12 assists. That was her season high and two off her career high. Shalee Lehning might have kept Bird from scoring, but not from passing.
And now, a look at each of the Powder Blues:
Sancho Lyttle: Lyttle's games almost sneak up on you with their simplicity - she does nothing flashy. 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 steals. 9-for-17 shooting. She probably denied Seattle a lot of offensive rebounds to. I agree with the DFO and make Lyttle the Dreamer of the Game. She also had a +11 in raw plus/minus.
Erika de Souza: However, de Souza's performance deserves a lot of respect. 13 points and 12 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season. 6-for-12 shooting, only a couple of fouls, and de Souza was playing with a lot of passion. When Lyttle and de Souza are both on - and they often are - the Dream is hard to beat.
Angel McCoughtry: 16 points in 25 minutes, so she doesn't earn a "McCoughtry" (10-plus points in 20-minus minutes). 6-for-12 shooting, 5 assits, 4 steals. Four turnovers, though.
Shalee Lehning: 6 points and 6 assists. 31 minutes played, and a +11 raw plus/minus to tie Lyttle. If there's any contention in the locker room between Lehning's role and Latta's role, it doesn't show up on the court.
Chamique Holdclaw: 9 points and 5 rebounds is an "okay" game for Holdsclaw. She was 4-for-11 from the field.
Coco Miller: 8 points, 3-for-7 shooting and a +5 plus/minus. Could Miller be moving up to the second option at point guard?
Iziane Castro Marques: 11 points in 14 minutes - it was Iziane's turn to earn the "McCoughtry". 2-for-4 in 3-point shooting, but 3 personal fouls and 3 turnovers.
Michelle Snow: Three minutes played. Scored a bucket, got a rebound.
Ivory Latta: Eight minutes played. Took three shots, missed two, and hit the other one - a 3-pointer. Picked up a couple of personal fouls.
Armintie Price: Price's first game in an Atlanta uniform - a pink uniform with #11 on it, but she got to play. Played 3 minutes and scored a line of zeroes.
Jennifer Lacy: Nine minutes. Missed all three shots. Three rebounds. Normally, I would call Lacy Still Snoozin'...but she didn't do that much worse than Price, and Price didn't really do anything that hurt us or helped us. So I'll avoid tagging Lacy with the demerit and call it even-steven.