Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Official Closing of the Blog

If you haven't guessed, there's been a dearth of activity here at the Pleasant Dreams Blog. Generally, when the Dream basketball season ended it was hard to fill the blog with content. Furthermore, changes in my life made it difficult to find opportune times to post, as you can read in this previous comment.

But now, I've decided to make the big decision to change my location. I will no longer be blogging at the Pleasant Dreams Blog. I shall instead be blogging at Swish Appeal, a website which is devoted to both professional and college women's basketball. When the 2011 Atlanta Dream season starts, you will find all of the content devoted to the Dream at that blog instead of at this one.

Furthermore, I am also covering women's college basketball for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. If you ever wanted to hear what my voice sounds like, or listen to my unfortunate stutter, you can go to this post and hear the dulcet tones of Petrel bothering Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph.

But you won't just find me there. You'll find a lot of great writers too numerous to mention, and I'd better not mention any of them because if I leave one of them out I'll never hear the end of it. (And besides, I've linked to their posts at this blog before so you might recognize them anyway.) Site registration at Swish Appeal is free, but you do have to establish an identity there in that you have to sign up for a user name. (This drives posters away for some reason. I can't figure it out.) I will say that the writing is top-notch, and not because I'm writing for it.

The platform at Swish Appeal is much more flexible than the one at, and it's just a damned sight simpler to post there - as a matter of fact, you can use the "Fanposts" feature and post your own content if you've got an issue that you feel you can't confine to the comments at Pleasant Dreams.

I was very reluctant to close down the blog. But no, the blog isn't closing down. It's just moving.

Am I going to stop following the Atlanta Dream? No way. I'm just going to write about it somewhere else from now on. If you need to locate me, you can still write to me at the address listed at the top of the blog. I have really enjoyed spending time with all of you, and hope to look for you at Swish Appeal.

The blog content will not be folded. This blog will stay up as long as continues to support it. The archives shall remain public. But, barring some unforseen circumstance it shall no longer be updated. So update your blog rolls for those of you that use that feature.

And now...we wave the magic wand, we wish Pleasant Dreams to all of you, and we move all of our Atlanta Dream love and paraphernelia over to Swish Appeal. See you there and GO DREAM!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Iziane to Play in Turkey

We now have as complete a player update of Atlanta Dream players overseas as we can get from the Atlanta Dream website.

The previous list:

Alison Bales: Union Hainaut, France
Erika de Souza: Perfumerias, Spain
Yelena Leuchanka: AZS Gorzow, Poland
Sancho Lyttle: Perfumerias, Spain
Angel McCoughtry: MKB Euroleasing, Hungary
Brittainey Raven: Lattes Montpelier, France

In addition, we have Iziane Castro Marques signing with Besitkas in Turkey. However, I found a website that states that Iziane is playing with the "Arsenal" team, and the Turkish Basketball Website is no help. We'll assume that the DFO knows the score.

This leaves four players. Shalee Lehning will be in her second year as an assistant coach at Kansas State. The lead sentence is "Shalee Lehning enters her second season as an assistant coach on Deb Patterson's staff", confirming that she'll be on the sidelines of K-State in the off-season.

Armintie Price will also go back to coaching in the off-season for Mississippi State. Price - known as Armintie Price Herrington on the Ole Miss coaching staff page - might be working as a guards coach this year.

We still know nothing about what Coco and Kelly Miller will be doing this off-season.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update on the Dream Overseas

Note: an update on the teams where we can find Atlanta Dream players in the off-season. New information on Alison Bales and Brittainey Raven.

Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza will be playing for Perfumerias in Spain. Perfumerias finished second in the Spanish League last year and Ros Casares - Erika's previous team - finished first. Erika will be joining Sancho Lyttle for the first time this year and this makes Perfumerias an automatic championship contender...not just of the Liga Femenina, but of Euroleague as well.

Angel McCoughtry will move to the MKB Euroleasing team, in Hungary. McCoughtry was the second-leading scorer in Euroleague behind Diana Taurasi, taking her Good Angels Kosice team to the Euroleague quarterfinals. MKB Euroleasing has finished four straight years at the top of Hungary's A Division but last years 5th place finish in Group C in Euroleague was a disappointment. It looks like Euroleasing will repair that mistake.

Yelena Leuchanka has just signed with AZS Gorzow of Poland. Gorzow made the jump from Eurocup to Eurloleague last year but finished in last place in Group C. Only the Polish PLKK is any consolation, where Gorzow has come up short in the PLKK finals for the last two years. Gorzow is hoping for an extra push.

Right now, we don't know where Iziane Castro Marques, Coco Miller or Kelly Miller will end up. Castro Marques played for Krakow and Kelly Miller played for Spartak Moscow. Coco Miller went...with her sister, where she trained with Spartak Moscow but I suspect she did not play there. Marques will not be playing for Krakow this year, but she'll be playing somewhere undoubtedly; the Miller twins are a bigger question mark.

Shalee Lehning and Armintie Price have other options for the off-season. Lehning has a coaching in with Kansas State, Price has one with Mississippi. Lehning (from my understanding) hadn't made up her mind about Europe yet, at least not at the beginning of the 2010 WNBA season. I don't know about Price.

Alison Bales will be playing with Union Hainaut Basket in France. Another player joining Bales will be Brittainey Raven, who I believe (but can't prove) will be playing for Lattes Montpelier. Both teams are at the highest level of French basketball. I also understand that Raven is there on a three-month contract and won't be eligible to play until November 6th when Lattes Montpelier takes on Challes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Links of Mine

A couple of articles I've put up at Swish Appeal:

About Spanish League basketball: Erika and Sancho Lyttle will be among those playing for Spanish teams in the off-season. The link is here.

About Vicky Bullett: ...and what remarkable accomplishment puts her up with Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson and Yolanda Griffith. The link is here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oh Dream, What Now?

As anyone who is an Atlanta Dream fan knows, this season was an emotional roller coaster. From Chamique Holdsclaw declining to report to training camp, to a 6-0 start, to the end-of-the-season tailspin, to the brand new post-season lineup to the sweep through the Eastern Conference playoffs, through Angel McCoughtry's 42 in one game and 35 in another, to the Dream losing in the narrowest sweep in WNBA history in front of a sellout Atlanta crowd, you quite literally didn't know what was going to happen next.

When you go to the Finals for the first time, but you lose, the question is "should you be bitter or should you be happy"? My answer is that whatever you are, you shouldn't be that happy - or, if you are happy, you certainly shouldn't show it. You don't want the Dream to be like the Chicago Cubs, one of those teams that just seems happy to be participating win or lose. No, we are most emphatically NOT just "happy to be there". We want to WIN.

But even though we are not happy, we can take satisfaction in many things. We might walk out with a sad contenance, but we can also walk out with pride. It is quite possible for the two to coexist. No one predicted the Dream as WNBA Finalists - but we were. There were some in the tight-knit community of women's basketball fans - you know who you are - who predicted that not only would the Storm sweep but that they would romp, a "sit back, grab the popcorn and enjoy the fun" moment. Undoubtedly, some of those viewers choked on a few kernels.

The Dream could have beaten any team in the WNBA except the Storm. I believe we might have even been able to beat the 2009 Phoenix team, but you never get to choose the team you play. The 2010 Storm was one of the best WNBA teams in history, and they would have beaten several past WNBA champions if you want to match championship squads historically. The 2010 Seattle squad probably couldn't have beaten those turn of the century Los Angeles Sparks championship teams but they could have beaten just about anyone else. In a way, the Atlanta Dream were much like the Boston Red Sox - except that the Dream have only had the opportunity to draw one all-world opponent whereas the BoSox kept drawing them over and over and over again.

The good thing about the Dream's championship run is that it the team might have earned the attention of a few more local faces. Marynell Meadors in her post-game press conference stated that Dream was getting more attention from the girls high school community. From my own personal experience I know that more people know about the Dream that I would have previously expected.

Hopefully, the experience will leave everyone hungry for more. My hope is that Kathy Betty has enjoyed the experience so much in her rookie year of WNBA ownership that she'll just want to keep repeating it over and over. My estimation is that WNBA teams can lose as much as $1.5-$2.5 million per year - not a lot of money in the sports world but a very expensive purchase. Betty stated in an interview that she loved the team but also realized that it was a business, and her goal - and necessity - was to put the team in black ink.

Aaron's Inc. helped. They didn't go in for a jersey sponsorship but they helped in a lot of other ways. We saw the Aaron's Inc. mascot, Lucky, at several Dream games. One thrilling event was the Aaron's Dog Drop, where several tiny versions of the mascot were parachuted down into the crowd from the attic of Philips Arena. Those little dogs cost money.

I'm reminded of a complaint on Twitter from some anonymous lout that went along the following lines - "Ha ha, you had to discount your tickets 65 percent for your Finals game. FAIL." Watch out for that FAIL taunt, because it can a double-edged sword. First, our Finals game was sold out with over 10,000 in attendance. Second, it seems like the previous complaint of the haters was that the WNBA couldn't sell out its Finals games. Now, they've had to adjust their whining - now, they claim that we sell them out but we sell them out too cheaply. The crowd might not have paid full price - but trust me, those seats were filled and that crowd was definitely active. So the haters get a BACKFAIL.

Great year for the Atlanta Dream. Sad year, but also a year of accomplishments and a lot to build on and look forward to next year. (And by the way, WNBA, the officiating was terrible. At least it didn't affect the Finals that much, since the bad was dolloped out in equal portions to the Dream and the Storm.)

"So Pet," you might ask, "what now?" Well, Angel McCoughtry and Marynell Meadors get on a plane to the Czech Republic to join the United States team at the FIBA World Championships. Everyone else on the Dream not involved in FIBA scatters like paper in the wind. Most hop on flights overseas to join their European teams for "off-season" professional play. Shalee Lehning and Armintie Price might hook up with Kansas State or Mississippi again to join their coaching staffs. Alison Bales might crack open the books and take a few more med school courses. The majority of them who don't live in Atlanta won't be seen again in the United States - save for the rare vacation - until 2011.

Marynell Meadors will probably go back to her home in Florida (I believe) after the FIBA championships for a little while before swinging into Phase Two - watching a lot of college games and keeping her eyes on the free agency status of players all around the league. Some Dream players probably won't be back next year, despite the success of 2010 - it's rare for rosters to remain fixed year after year after year. The actual nuts and bolts of the front office will reduce itself to a skeleton crew without the need to handle the day-to-day issues associated with the regular season. For Kathy Betty, the goal will be to raise both awareness of the Dream in the Atlanta community and to seek sponsorship money.

As for me, I'll probably end up following the Dream players - in spirit, anyway - on their various world-wide journeys, reading websites in a bevy of languages to determine how well overseas players are faring. I'll be watching Georgia Tech women's basketball, and my goal is to plan things so that I can watch even more women's basketball games than I did the year before. The Yellow Jackets play Tennessee on a neutral court and Connecticut in Atlanta, so it will be a fascinating season.

And the blog...oh yes, that....

In Zen, there's a concept called "beginner's mind". This, in Wikipedia, is defined as "having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would". During my first two years of writing the Pleasant Dreams Blog, I was definitely in a state of beginner's mind, because I was a beginner. I had never followed basketball up to that point, and everything was new and interesting and fun to learn.

However, mastering the intricacies of basketball is virtually impossible even for those who get paid for it. In terms of fandom, I'm years behind and I am coming to grips with the fact that I shall simply never catch up - the teenage years when I could have soaked up the sport like a sponge or even attempted to play it are gone for good. I can only see linearly on a court, and not multilinearly. I'm still applying my baseball mind to basketball, and so I can't recognize pick and rolls and can only barely recognize the concept of rotation defense. I can at least tell a zone from a man-to-man...but so can a lot of other people. My understanding of the game, in many respects, is that of a clever elementary school student. I've had to try to listen as much as I could to people who knew more than I did, but fight the temptation to substitute my knowledge for theirs. There's no point in being free of preconception when you just pick up someone else's preconceptions.

The changes in my life over the past year in terms of employment and home combined with hitting the hard part of the basketball learning curve wiped out my beginnner's mind. Reporting on the sport became tedious, my attention focused in a thousand directions, my energy lackluster. I wasn't open, I wasn't eager, and I was full of preconceptions. So I walked away from the blog in an attempt to recover my beginner's mind and my time away from the blog and from other issues has partially helped...but I'm not where I'd like to be, not yet.

So I will continue to go on walkabout, and stay away from serious blogging. I might contribute to Swish Appeal every now and then and I'll provide links at this blog to any new Swish Appeal articles. I might have something else to write here at Pleasant Dreams during the interim, but the goal is to break away from the old habits and seek new approaches. "Strive on with diligence," as Buddha might say.

For those who have hung on for the journey, thank you. I don't know where the journey is going to end, but I still love the game. I'm sure that whatever happens, it's going to be wonderful.

(P. S. : As to specific thoughts about the particulars of this series and off-season moves that might be made, this might come later.)

Friday, September 17, 2010


So close.

Eight points.

Angel is great.

There will be one big post on the weekend.

All love to the Dream.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Four Dream Links

The Dream have escaped the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, sweeping the top-seeded Mystics. The Dream will play the winner of the Indiana Fever/New York Liberty matchup on Wednesday night in the Eastern Conference finals.

Since I'm pretty lazy right now, here are some links:

Angel McCoughtry was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team, joining Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles, Tanisha Wright and Cappie Pondexter.

Craig Cappy over at has a gallery of images from the Dream's Game Two victory over Washington.

Another article, this time about Atlanta's win. Angel McCoughtry compared the Dream to "superheroes" - are the Dream the Justice League or the Avengers? Or the X-Players?

Kathy Orton over at the Washington Post called the Dream's lost "nightmarish". At least Orton's not like the other Washington Post reporter who didn't know there were 40 minutes in a WNBA game.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Atlanta Dream Finally Make it to Playoffs, Thump Chicago 98-74 on Road

For those of you out there still reading the blog, the long wait is over. The Atlanta Dream's 107-69 win over the Sky on the road finally clinch another playoff spot for the Atlanta Dream, snapping a four-game losing streak where the Dream sometimes played so poorly that I despaired of them winning another game. Currently Atlanta is in fourth place with two home games left - each one against a team that has beaten us at home (Tuesday the 17th against Chicago, Sunday the 22nd against Washington). Trust me, the regular season isn't over yet; home field advantage will be crucial and we don't have that yet.

The box score is here. If you read closely, that box score is a thing of beauty - five players in double figures, Brittainey Raven finally getting over 10 minutes in the game, Alison Bales with a double-double, the Dream shooting 56.1 percent. The Sky's shooting of 55.9 percent at teh line was absolutely horrible, with Dominique Canty missing seven times in 11 attempts.

In the same link above under "GAME STORY" you'll find the AP writeup. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, not sending Pierce W. Huff, simply grabs the story off the AP wire. At least they reported it.

``They decided that that was enough,'' Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. ``They came out and played like they have been playing throughout the season, with a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the game. They shared the ball extremely well and played some really good defense.''

The Chicago Daily-Herald had the best headline: "Sky Rolls Over, Plays Dead in Loss". Quoteth Sylvia Fowles:

"Tonight we came out and played like boo-boo. I thought we were going to be ready to play." The Sky played like Boo-Boo; the Dream played like Yogi and the Park Ranger.

The Chicago Tribune reports "Coach 'embarrassed' by Sky's play in loss to Dream". Jack McCarthy writes it up:

"We should be embarrassed for (this) kind of play" Sky coach Steven Key said. "The hard part is that we know that's not us as a team. That's not the way we practice, that's not the way we played all season long."

I think Steven Key's going to have a lot to worry about in the off-season, more than just some embarrassment. provides a simple report.

I'm not so much excited as I am...relieved. We're in again, and thank God. We'll worry about where we're in later.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dream-Fever Gallery

There's a new gallery at of the Fever-Dream game that took place last week. Go over and take a look at Susan J. Wilden's work.

I hate pink games, since we keep losing them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Atlanta Dream - 2010-11 Off-Season

A heads-up on the post-season plans of the Atlanta Dream. Right now, we know where four players are going.

Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza will be playing for Perfumerias in Spain. Perfumerias finished second in the Spanish League last year and Ros Casares - Erika's previous team - finished first. Erika will be joining Sancho Lyttle for the first time this year and this makes Perfumerias an automatic championship contender...not just of the Liga Femenina, but of Euroleague as well.

Angel McCoughtry will move to the MKB Euroleasing team, in Hungary. McCoughtry was the second-leading scorer in Euroleague behind Diana Taurasi, taking her Good Angels Kosice team to the Euroleague quarterfinals. MKB Euroleasing has finished four straight years at the top of Hungary's A Division but last years 5th place finish in Group C in Euroleague was a disappointment. It looks like Euroleasing will repair that mistake.

Yelena Leuchanka has just signed with AZS Gorzow of Poland. Gorzow made the jump from Eurocup to Eurloleague last year but finished in last place in Group C. Only the Polish PLKK is any consolation, where Gorzow has come up short in the PLKK finals for the last two years. Gorzow is hoping for an extra push.

Right now, we don't know where Iziane Castro Marques, Coco Miller or Kelly Miller will end up. Castro Marques played for Krakow and Kelly Miller played for Spartak Moscow. Coco Miller went...with her sister, where she trained with Spartak Moscow but I suspect she did not play there. Marques should definitely be playing in Europe next year; the Miller twins are a bigger question mark.

Shalee Lehning, Armintie Price and Alison Bales all have other options for the off-season. Lehning has a coaching in with Kansas State, Price has one with Mississippi. Lehning (from my understanding) hadn't made up her mind about Europe yet, at least not at the beginning of the 2010 WNBA season. I don't know about Price. Bales could simply return to school in the off-season to pursue a possible medical career.

No word on Brittainey Raven yet, or what her post-season options are.

Some Link Aggregation

Some interesting links:

The Atlanta Dream is holding a massive girls sleepover! That's right, in cooperation with Girl Talk (, after the game against the New York Liberty on Friday night...well, there's no reason to leave Philips Arena until the very next morning. Go here to the Atlanta Dream website to find out more information!

Pierce W. Huff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives us some more insight regarding the concussion Sancho Lyttle suffered when she went down during the Atlanta-Chicago game and didn't wake up for a minute.

“The two weeks I was out, it was hard because when I was practicing and bending over, I was getting dizzy,” she said. “After that, I kind of worked myself into the lineup.”

Brittainey Raven tells the WNBA about her family's struggle with breast cancer.

I have a breast cancer ribbon on my wrist in honor of my grandmother. When I see that I just remember all the things she’s taught me and all the good times we had.

Dream Win Only One of Three Over Last Week: Split Series With Fever, Lose to Mystics at Home

Let's give a brief summary of how the week went:

August 1st: The Dream got on top of the Fever 90-74 which was a big win for Atlanta. That win split the series 2-2 and set up the final regular season game to take place on Friday. Winning team takes the tie-breaker in the Eastern Conference. Four Atlanta Dream players scored in double-digits. Atlanta's win continued the pattern of each team winning its games at home. With the win, Atlanta took over first place again in the East.

The box score is here.

A blurb from Sports Network can be found here.

The Associated Press blurb is here.

August 3rd: The Dream lose to the Mystics at home, 86-78, becoming only the second team this year to beat Atlanta at home. The Dream hit a dead zone in the fourth quarter after leading by six points at one time, and the last minute of the game was an exchange of free throws after exchange of free throws after exchange of free throws. It was one of those games you joke about where the last minute takes fifteen minutes, but the result was no joke for our beloved Dream.

The loss ended Atlanta's four-game win streak. The win gave the Mystics posession of second place, albeit briefly.

The box score is here.

Here's the Associated Press writeup.

Lauren Harper of The Examiner tells her side of the story from the Dream perspective with some quick hits. Andrew Tomlinson from the Washington branch of the Examiner tells the story another way.

Jshuane Melton of the DC Sports Box tells the whole story from the Mystics perspective.

August 6th. The Dream lost a heartbreaker in Indiana last night, 95-93. This loss gives the Indiana Fever the season tie-breaker, beating Atlanta in the season series three games to two. The Atlanta loss threw the Eastern Conference into turmoil, with four teams separated from each other by just a single game. The Dream and Fever are tied for first place, but if the season ended today Indiana would finish first and the Dream second due to the tiebreaker.

With less than a minute left, Alison Bales hit a free throw to put the Dream up 93-92. Ebony Hoffman of the Fever would hit one of two free throws to tie the game 93-93 with 30.1 seconds left. The Dream got the ball back but Katie Douglas stole the ball from Sancho Lyttle with six seconds left. The Fever put the ball in the hands of Tamika Catchings - who would score 30 points that night - and Atlanta was forced to foul.

Catchings hit both shots. 95-93 Fever. With 1.1 seconds left, Alison Bales managed to get off a shot and get the foul from Loree Moore. Bales needed to hit both shots to give the game a chance of going overtime.

She missed the first one...and the second one. Game over. I'm glad I wasn't there, I probably would have broken down in tears.

The box score is here.

David Woods of the Indianapolis Star writes it up.

Pat Lovell of the Examiner gives his impressions.

Hopefully, more blogging later. Next home game is this Tuesday, against the Seattle Storm. We don't need a "statement win". We just need a win.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dream Crush Sun in Mohegan, Now Tied for First in East

Believe it or not...McCoughtry actually made the basket.

(As always, you have to see Larry Morgenweck's gallery for, which is located right here on the website.)

Over the second and third quarter of their game against the Connecticut Sun, the Dream went on a 25-0 run over the second and third quarters to defeat the Sun 94-62 on the road. No, that's not a typo. That's twenty-five consecutive unanswered points.

The loss is the worst loss in the Sun's franchise history, stretching back to 1999 when the Connecticut Sun was the Orlando Miracle. The reason might have been Connecticut's 23 turnovers. Tina Charles was held to six points; Kelsey Griffin scored zero points in 19 minutes of play. Erika de Souza had 13 points and 13 rebounds; Angel McCoughtry scored 20 points and six rebounds.

The win puts Atlanta in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference. The next game tomorrow will be at home against the other first place team, the Indiana Fever. Winner of that game walks off the court the Eastern Conference leader. The loser just walks off.

The box score is here.

The fallout:

The brief Associated Press blurb.

Matt Stout of the Norwich Bulletin gives his initial impressions.

John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant provides two pages detail and Hartford Courant says that Connecticut head coach Mike Thibault finds the loss a real head-scratcher.

Ned Griffin of The writes about Connecticut's long day.

The New Haven Register and Jim Fuller share some video of the press conference.

Bob Phillips of the Examiner gives his take on the massacre.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dream Defeat Tulsa on Road, Move Into Second Place in East

One of the best teams in the Eastern Conference took on the worst team in the WNBA and won 105-89. It was the second most points scored by the Shock this year. The Dream move to 16-9 on the year and are just one game behind the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference and are in sole possession of second place. For the Shock, they've lost 17 of their last 18.

Iziane Castro Marques scored 23 points to lead the Dream on 8-for-14 shooting despite suffering a broken nose. My understanding is that she suffered the broken nose in practice by colliding with Brittainey Raven. Some wiseacre wrote elsewhere that it was the most impact that Brittainey Raven has had on the Atlanta Dream all year.

The box score here. You can see the Live Access archive here.

The Associated Press sings the same old song for Tulsa.

John Hall of Tulsa Today reports the "shocking" results.

Kevin Henry of the Tulsa World gives his take on the thumping.

Jeff Brucculeri of the Examiner provides an assessment and Lauren Harper of the Examiner provides her own interesting facts.

And finally, an article in Tulsa Today about 120 Shalee Lehning fans who made their way from Sublette, Kansas (Lehning's hometown) and Manhattan, Kansas (the home of Kansas State) to cheer their local hero.

Some more linky stuff later.

New Atlanta Dream Pictures

There's a new Dream photoshoot up on the Atlanta Dream Facebook Page. There's a picture of the Dream with Charles Barkley and about eight pictures of Yelena Leuchanka preparing for her future modeling career.

Give it a look. As you can see, Leuchanka presents a striking figure.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dream Defeat Liberty in Atlanta; Four Game Losing Streak Ends

Iziane's levitating act! "Watch me make this ball disappear!"

(As usual, Craig Cappy provides a great gallery of pictures right here from Click and see the pics!)

The box score is here.

Pierce W. Huff tells the story for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Some basic stuff about the Tulsa game soon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dream Assistant Coach With Meadors Since the Beginning

When Marynell Meadors became the head coach of the Charlotte Sting in the inaugural 1997 season, one of her assistant coaches was...Sue Panek. When Meadors returned as a head coach in 2008 with the Atlanta Dream, what happened with Panek?

There's a great article in a Pennsylvania newspaper about Panek, which explains:

“It was funny because in 2007 around Thanksgiving, I was watching ESPN, and they said that Marynell Meadors was named head coach and GM of the Atlantic Dream,” Panek said in a telephone interview from Atlanta. “I was thinking about whether I should call her, whether I wanted to get back (in the WNBA). The next morning, she called me and asked me if I wanted to join her in Atlanta.”

And what does Panek do as an assistant coach?

“My duties cover a broad range,” Panek said. “I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the team, from setting up travel and hotel accommodations, requesting VISAs for foreign players, taking care of the equipment, setting up practice times, both when we are on the road and in Atlanta.”

Give the article some click love. And if you see Sue Panek sitting behind the Atlanta Dream bench, say hi!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dream Drop Fourth Straight in Loss to Mystics, Fall Out of First

So where did Price's right hand go?

(Donna H. Perry of SportsPageMagazine gives us a bevy of pictures. And SPM has great photographers, so they're all worth seeing. Click the link.)

What we feared has come to pass. With an 82-72 loss in Washington, the Dream were swept on their four-game road trip, losing to Minnesota, Connecticut, Indiana and Washington in succession. With their fourth straight loss, the Dream fall out of first place and are now in third, 1/2 of game behind both Washington and Indiana.

It has been two years since the Dream lost four straight games or four straight road games (*). That's right, the last time the Dream performed this poorly was the horrible 2008 season. The last time they lost four straight was at the tail of a 10-game losing streak where they lost fourteen of fifteen along the way.

The further bad news is that Shalee Lehning has injured a quadricep. She didn't play in the Washington game and the recent news - Lehning is out for two weeks. For those out there who claimed that Lehning brought nothing to the Dream and that Kelly Miller would have been a better choice at point guard...well, your theory is going to face the acid test.

The box score for those who wish to see.

Here's the write-up from the Associated Press.

Another write-up from the Washington Post posting the sad tale.

I'm going to be at the game on Sunday, cheering on the Dream. It's time to get past this bump in the road and beat the Libs. After all, New York and Atlanta have a historical animosity, don't they?


(*) If you count the final loss of the 2009 season at Gwinett as a "road" game - which it really was - we had four straight road losses the previous year.

The Finale Rack

I've been having trouble you might have noticed recently. What you might not have known is that over the three years I've followed the Atlanta Dream I've had my paws in three separate pies: this blog, an unnamed National Sports Website, and Swish Appeal, a new website hosted by SB Nation and devoted to women's basketball.

It's taken a long time to figure out what the problem has been. Namely, "how come I can't blog?" I felt more and more disorganized with less and less to say. Furthermore, this affected the other areas in which I was writing. I wondered if I had hit some sort of mental wall and if I should just walk away from blogging with maximum apologies all around.

Part of this was, as close followers of the blog know, caused by a change in my work environment. For the first two years of Pleasant Dreams, my work environment was rather lax in how it monitored by personal time. I had unlimited access to the internet and there were no expectations as to how I should be using my time. This gave me the time to be able to devote attention to all of these aspects of my blogging life, as well as to follow the WNBA on the internet and elsewhere, to play with statistics and to otherwise make blogging about women's basketball fun.

Then, last year, things changed. My unlimited access to the internet became very limited all of a sudden. No blogging from work. And then, after a while, no substantial use of the internet from work, either - the bean counters were now counting every bean. This killed not only the chances for me to post from work, but even to work on the background of posts from work. Of course, I could do this at home - but home was supposed to be a time of relaxation and reflection, not a time for furious blogging. Trust me, when you're slaving over a computer for eight hours at work, it can be tedious coming home and doing the exact same thing you did at work, shutting yourself away from everything. It becomes something you don't look forward to doing.

So I soldiered on. I would try to eat three pies at one setting, to extend this analogy past its breaking point. I would keep all of these plates spinning, and do the best I could. Pleasant Dreams slowed down to a trickle. I was unhappy with the work I was turning in at the sports website, although it was getting some play from big women's basketball websites. Swish Appeal seemed almost forgotten.

Most of the time, I just blamed myself for the failure. "The reason this isn't working, Pet, is because you don't care. If you cared you could make this work." Then I read a recent article called Solitude and Leadership. The article discussed, among other things, the concept of multitasking and said something that might seem obvious to you but which was rather surprising to me.

One thing that made the study different from others is that the researchers didn’t test people’s cognitive functions while they were multitasking. They separated the subject group into high multitaskers and low multitaskers and used a different set of tests to measure the kinds of cognitive abilities involved in multitasking. They found that in every case the high multitaskers scored worse. They were worse at distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information and ignoring the latter. In other words, they were more distractible. They were worse at what you might call “mental filing”: keeping information in the right conceptual boxes and being able to retrieve it quickly. In other words, their minds were more disorganized. And they were even worse at the very thing that defines multitasking itself: switching between tasks.

That described me to a "T". My mental filing and organization system had simply broken down. "Disorganized" wasn't the half of it. By trying to do three things well, I ended up doing none of them well. The problem wasn't that I was inept at spinning plates, or that I was neglecting my plate spinning duties, or that I didn't care if the audience was assaulted by flying shards of broken glass. The problem was that I was spinning too many damn plates to be good at keeping any individual plate spinning.

Don't spin so many damn plates! Don't expect to do so much! That was the solution. Focus on one thing, and one thing only.

The question then became - "what thing? Where should I be putting my time and effort?" The answer, after thinking about it, became obvious. Parts of my blogging life had to be pared down. And until I can figure out what goes where in my life, there has to be a temporary walking-away process.

I will continue to maintain my obligations in the women's basketball blogging world, as best I can, until the end of the Atlanta Dream's 2010 season. I will keep the plates spinning - not very well, or not very carefully - until then. After that, I will be ending some of my obligations, formal and otherwise. I will continue to attend Atlanta Dream games during the 2010 season and, when able, write about them.

However, when the season is over, this blog will go into hibernation. There might be a few months or so after the season where I just...think about things. So don't expect any posts of any sort here after the final ball bounces for the Dream in 2010. I'll keep occasionally blogging here during the season, but beyond that, who knows?

So thank you for your patience. We'll be seeing out the rest of the season together, and I know that we're going to playoffs...and beyond that! Until next time, what did Casey Kasem say? "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars?" Sounds good to me!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dream-Sun Gallery

Oh yeah? Well God is my referee!

Larry Morgenweck has a gallery of Atlanta Dream images up at

See! Iziane's unfortunate haircut!
See! Renee Montgomery's kickline!
See! The Great Wall of Leuchanka!

(But you gotta click the links to see it.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sorenson's Dream Hasn't Come True...Yet

Here's a link to an article about Steffi Sorenson, who played for Florida Gulf Coast when it was a Division II school and walked on at Florida. Apparently, either last year or this year, Sorenson tried out for the Atlanta Dream but....

Sorensen also recently tried out with the Atlanta Dream and was told she could play in the WNBA but not right now.

No surprise there. After all, what's one last critic in a lifetime full of them?

In all fairness to both sides, it would have been very difficult to make this 2010 Atlanta Dream team.

Dream Fall Behind on Road, Lose 96-80 to Sun

The Dream saw a lot of that last night.

The Dream's woes continue with a 96-80 loss to the Sun yesterday in Connecticut. This was the second game of a tough Eastern Conference back-to-back pair of road games, and after a good first quarter the Dream lost every subsequent one. This loss is on the back of a 89-70 loss the day before.

The last time the Atlanta Dream lost three straight games? You have to go back to the tail end of last year, when we lost our final regular season game on the road to the Mystics and were then swept by the Shock in the playoffs. Before that, you have to go to a 10-game losing streak at the end of 2008.

To add insult to injury, Delta Airlines lost (or at least temporarily misplaced) the coaching staff's luggage. Marynell Meadors was forced to patrol the sidelines wearing a warm-up suit.

The loss drops the Dream into a tie with Washington for the Eastern Conference lead. All of the teams of the Eastern Conference are within 3 1/2 games of each other. Using the WNBA's tie breakers, it would go Mystics, Dream, Fever and then Sun in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The game story from the Associated Press is here.

The box score is here.

John Altavilla reports on the loss here. Matt Stout provides a post-mortem from the Norwich Bulletin.

Egad. When will the bleeding stop?

UPDATE: Ned Griffen of The Day has his say. Also, Stout wrote a longer article so the link above is changed.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dream Lose 89-70 in Indiana; Third Loss in Four Games

The Fever shove us aside.

No one said road trips would be easy. They sure ain't easy for the Dream, who are currently 0-2 on a four-game road trip, losing 89-70 in Indiana last night. The loss was the worst Dream loss of the season - Sam James (in charge of Fever Week) posted on a message board that Marynell Meadors didn't come out to meet players after the game...well, not immediately, anyway. They'd better shake it off fast, because they play in Connecticut today.

Oddly enough, the Dream are still #1 in the Eastern Conference. At least, other teams seem to be having problems too. Furthermore, Sancho Lyttle is back. Hurray!!

What happened? The Dream got blown out in the fourth quarter, scoring only 10 fourth-quarter points. Angel McCoughtry coughed up the ball seven times. Iziane shot 2-for-11 and disappeared. Marynell Meadors was charged with a technical with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter.

Kent Sterling tells the story here.

The Associated Press reveals everything here.

Gallery from Every gallery they do is worth a visit, so go there.

Here's hoping we turn it around tonight. Go Dream!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dream's Comeback Against Lynx Falters

I am Angel, hear me roar.

My understanding is that the Dream lost 83-81 in Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon. It's Thursday night, and I still haven't seen this game.

Why? Well, the real reason is time. Frankly, my blogging on all fronts is facing a severe time crunch. I used to be able to devote several hours a day to blogging about the Greatest Team in History; now, if I can get one hour in it's almost a miracle. There is a good chance that this blog might be in the "decline" phase - which depresses me to no end.

So what am I going to do? I'll keep the blog going at least until the end of the 2010 WNBA season. Posts will be when time and opportunity permit. Come the end of the season, we'll face a blog revaluation.

The box score is here.

Roman Augustoviz reports the whole story for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Dave Campbell of the AP throws down.

Jesse Johnson provides a gallery at, the magazine that you have to visit.

Dream shooting 1-for-18 from beyond the arc. Erika and Iziane with technical fouls. What's up with that?

Atlanta Dream At The Half

The Atlanta Dream Facebook Page has a podcast from Bob Rathburn and LaChina Robinson regarding the frist half ot the Dream's season. Unfortunately, I can't link to the podcast directly, but you can definitely find it on the Facebook page.

Lauren Harper writes about the Dream's first half of the season on the Atlanta Dream official website. Is the Dream founding a tradition? Read and find out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Atlanta vs. Minnesota, Wednesday July 14

Who: The Atlanta Dream (14-5) take on the Minnesota Lynx (6-11) in a East-West matchup.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 20.4 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (14.2 ppg/10.6 rpg) is an All-Star caliber post, and Iziane Castro Marques (17.8 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.3 ppg/8.6 rpg). The Lynx depend on point guard Lindsay Whalen (10.8 ppg/5.0 apg) and Seimone Augustus (17.3 ppg) leads Minnesota in scoring.

What: The second of two regular season games against the Lynx. Atlanta won the first game 76-58 at home on July 1, 2010.

: The Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When: Tip-off is at 1 pm Eastern time, Wednesday July 14 in Minneapolis. If you have a powerful radio antenna, you could pick it up on Minneapolis radio - the BOB, 106.1 FM - but if not, you'll just have to depend on WNBA Live Access.

Why: The Dream have come out of the six-game home stand with a week off and one game ahead of the Washington Mystics and have the second best record in the WNBA. But even with the Lynx's shoddy 6-11 record, and even despite Minnesota needing a telescope to see conference leader Seattle, the Lynx would still go to the playoffs with that record. That's how weak the Western Conference is right now, and Atlanta needs all the wins it can get.

So will Sancho Lyttle play? Lyttle, if you remember, left the Dream/Sky game with a concussion and missed both the following game against Connecticut and the All-Star Game. The Dream's game notes list Lyttle as "Day to Day" so whether or not Lyttle takes the court depends on how confident Dream head coach Marynell Meadors feels in a potential Dream victory.

Don't count out Minnesota, though. They've won four out of their last six games and clobbered the Silver Stars by 23 points in their last home win. Remember our six-game home stand? Well, the Lynx are in the middle of their own six-game home stand and this is just their second game. Furthermore, the Lynx have never beaten the Dream in Minneapolis. The Dream got their first road win - ever - there in 2008, and also won in 2009. I don't know if the Dream remember that with all the roster changes in Atlanta, but I'm sure that the Lynx do. has Atlanta by two points, listing both Sancho Lyttle and Rashanda McCants as questionable to play tomorrow. predicts that Atlanta will win by 12. It's your call.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Izi Among the All-Stars

From the Atlanta Dream Facebook Page. See? Everyone loves Izi, even Lauren Jackson.

Dream Beats Visiting Sun in Amazing Overtime Game on Wednesday

The 'do makes Iziane look like Robert Blake.

(The picture above, of course, is from Craig Cappy of Click the link and check out Iziane's new hairdo!)

The Atlanta Dream saw the Connecticut Sun, and they showed that if you have a can accomplish anything.

The 108-103 overtime win at Philips Arena set a score of records. Let me list all of them.

* Most points ever scored by the Dream in a game.

* Third most points scored against the Dream in a game.

* Most combined points scored in a Dream game.

* Career high for Iziane Castro Marques (32 points).

* Career high for Tina Charles (27 points).

* Most rebounds ever in a WNBA game (100 - Atlanta 51, Connecticut 49)

* Eighth most points ever scored in a WNBA game (211)

* Ninth twenty-point, twenty-rebound game in WNBA history. (Charles: 27 points, 20 rebounds)

* Fifth "teammates score 30 points each" game in WNBA history. - (Castro Marques 32, McCoughtry 32).

Box score is here.

Pierce W. Huff from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells us about the game.

Report from George Henry of the Associated Press.

Here's the report from the Norwich Sun.

Yeah, not much posting recently. Trying to squeeze real life in. At the end of the season, something's got to give.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some Explanation of the Yelena Leuchanka Picture

Like Atlas holding the world.

I wondered why Yelena Leuchanka was wearing that strange green and yellow dress in the picture below. It turns out that Leuchanka is pursuing a modeling career.

If you go to Access Atlanta you can take a peek at some of the pictures in Leuchanka's future portfolio. Give the click a click and show you care!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Atlanta vs. Connecticut, Wednesday July 7

Who: The Atlanta Dream (13-5) take on the Connecticut Sun (10-7) in an Eastern Conference game.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 19.8 points per game and has been named to the USA Basketball women's team. Sancho Lyttle (14.2 ppg/10.6 rpg) and Iziane Castro Marques (17.1 ppg) were both named to the WNBA All-Star Team. Erika de Souza (12.1 ppg/8.4 rpg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season. The Sun have rookie sensation Tina Charles (15.2 ppg, 12.1 rpg) as well as Renee Montgomery (12.4 ppg, 3.9 apg), both Connecticut graduates who will also be playing for USA Basketball.

What: The second of four regular season games against the Connecticut Sun - the remaining games will also take place in July. The first game was on May 21, 2010 at Philips Arena and ended with a 97-82 Dream victory.

Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta.

When: Tip-off is at 7 pm Eastern time, Wednesday July 7th in Atlanta. You should be able to watch the game on Sports South in Atlanta. And of course, there's WNBA Live Access for those who have computers.

Why: Think about it: we have four All-Stars playing this game (for this year, USA Basketball roster members are treated as All-Stars). McCoughtry. Castro Marques. Charles. Montgomery. You're really seeing some of the best players that American basketball has to offer.

However, one name is missing - Sancho Lyttle. The last time we saw her, she was leaving the floor of Philips Arena after being knocked unconscious by Sylvia Fowles in the final quarter of the Dream-Sun game on Saturday. According to, Lyttle is not expected to play in this game and most likely, Alison Bales will start in Lyttle's place tomorrow night.

One bonus for the Dream - the Sun are coming off a back-to-back on the road where they lost 79-66 to the San Antonio Spurs. So the Sun get on a plane, fly to Atlanta and face the Dream less than 24 hours later. The Dream have had to deal with these fatigue-related issues; for once, the opponent gets to deal with the short end of the stick. has the game as a 5.5 point favorite for Atlanta. So does Of course, this is the Eastern Conference and anything can happen.

McCoughtry, Erika, Iziane are The Stars at The Sun

The final rosters have been named for the USA Basketball vs. WNBA game that will take place on Saturday July 10 and which will be televised by ESPN at 3:30 pm ET.

Three Atlanta Dream players have made the various rosters.

Playing on the WNBA Team:

Jayne Appel San Antonio Silver Stars
Rebekkah Brunson Minnesota Lynx
Becky Hammon San Antonio Silver Stars
Iziane Castro Marques Atlanta Dream
Katie Douglas Indiana Fever
Lauren Jackson Seattle Storm
Crystal Langhorne Washington Mystics
Sancho Lyttle Atlanta Dream
Michelle Snow San Antonio Silver Stars
Penny Taylor Phoenix Mercury
Sophia Young San Antonio Silver Stars

Playing on the USA Team:

Sue Bird Seattle Storm
Swin Cash Seattle Storm
Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
Tina Charles Connecticut Sun
Candice Dupree Phoenix Mercury
Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky
Angel McCoughtry Atlanta Dream
Maya Moore University of Connecticut
Renee Montgomery Connecticut Sun
Cappie Pondexter New York Liberty
Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury

Marynell Meadors will also be serving as an assistant coach of the USA Team. I would have liked to see Erika somewhere on the team, but McCoughtry, Sancho Lyttle, and Iziane represent the Atlanta Dream just fine. I'll definitely be watching on Saturday.

Dream Seeks Victories...and Profit

Henry Unger over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about the Dream's financial state. There are some interesting paragraphs:

Betty purchased the team, which had lost about $3 million, in late October, saving it from a likely relocation to Tulsa.

That implies that the Dream lost around $1.5 million a year during the two years of the Terwilliger Era, which correlates with what I've heard before about how much a typical WNBA team might lose.

Some of her hard work is paying off. Betty has reduced the red ink by cutting expenses, securing sponsors such as Aaron’s, Coke and Grady, and hiring an experienced sports exec, Toby Wyman, as chief operating officer.

For any reader that hasn't met Betty, you should. She radiates charisma. Is it sexist to say something about "brains and beauty"? I hope not.

But, even with a first place team, attendance is well behind where it needs to be. To break even, the Dream needs to draw about 8,500 paying fans, Betty said. This season, it has been averaging “just under 7,000,” which is similar to last year’s performance.

Interesting. I don't know if we can make 8500. Even the Braves couldn't fill up their stadium during their championship years; Atlanta sports fans that aren't solely University of Georgia football fans are hard to come by.

Next week, Henry Unger reports about Fitz Johnson and the Atlanta Beat. I'll look forward to it.

Erika on Univision

A picture of Erika de Souza visiting Spanish-language Univision for an interview. Both Erika and Iziane Castro Marques were interviewed. The picture is from the Atlanta Dream Facebook Page.

Good that they showed up on Univision, but I hope Univision didn't think that they spoke Spanish. Erika and Iziane speak Portugese as native Brazilians.

Monday, July 5, 2010

1997 WNBA Champions

Some old school video of the 1997 Houston Comets. Enjoy.

Dreamy Cake?

Posted by @hunnibee10 (Brittainey Raven) on Twitter.

My question: did Raven eat the whole cake? Save some for me!

Never Depend on a Referee

I think it was Dean Oliver who said that bad refereeing was inconsistent refereeing. This is something very different from making bad calls. Let me explain.

All in all, referees have an almost impossible job to do. Basketball is a game of motion in a relatively compact space. There's a lot going on between ten people on a court, and most of the time the referees do a good job of controlling it. (Although coaches would have you believe otherwise.)

It's the nature of the beast that a basketball referee is going to give a bad call sometime. The problem with basketball is that a bad call directly impacts the score of a game, since about 40 percent of possessions end up with someone scoring. A bad call of traveling can wipe two points off a team's score because the ball might have ended up in the basket otherwise. Likewise, missing a foul call can add two points to a team's score that shouldn't have been added.

Most of the time, this evens out. For an unbiased referee, the number of bad calls created is evenly divided among both teams, not impacting either club significantly. Bad refereeing has greater impact against good teams (because the points a bad team gets added to its score probably won't make up enough points to push a bad team into the win column) and against teams that have players who get into foul trouble: a bad foul call can make the difference between a player's foul tally being four, or five, or six and this impacts how many minutes that player should play.

The best referees recognize the impact of a bad call. Generally, referees are loathe to admit any mistakes for several reasons. First, they don't want the game to degenerate into Debate Club. Second, they want to assert their authority as the game's arbitrators. Third, basketball should be a game and not a science where 100 percent accuracy must be the rigid goal. But even so, a bad call can be reversed in some cases (but usually, must be changed right away) and when not, a referee can make up for a bad call by calling a ticky-tacky call on the other side. "Oops, I erased your basket on a bad offensive charge call. Sorry. When the other team comes back across the court, I'll call a 3-second violation and give you the ball back."

If a referee makes bad calls in the manner above, those referees might be bad...but at least, they'd be consistently bad, a sort of "unbiased bad" that impacted no one team more than the other.

The above is complicated by the fact that each referee seems to have a different view as to what kind of contact in basketball is acceptable. Theoretically, basketball is a non-contact sport but incidental contact is impossible to avoid. Some referees are willing to let players get mugged on the court. Other referees will blow the whistle if a player looks at another player cross-eyed. After a few minutes, a good coach will figure this out. They know that "the refs are going to let us play" and that the team can go out there no-holds-barred or that the refs are whistle-happy and that contact should be avoided.

During the Dream/Sky game, it appeared that the referees - #4 Sue Blauch, #21 Byron Jarrett, and #58 Josh Tiven - were of the latter school. It was a busy night for whistles. All in all, the Chicago Sky made a ludicrous 41 trips to the free throw line and the Dream made 39 trips. I don't think I've seen a WNBA game in the three years of following the sport where the teams made 80 combined trips.

Furthermore...the game didn't seem to be all that much of a physical game. (Let's ignore the Lyttle knockout for now.) Meadors didn't claim that the entire Chicago Sky was a bunch of goons. She didn't even claim Sylvia Fowles was a goon. (Nor, as far as I am aware, did Steven Key or any of the Chicago Sky players complain.) I didn't get that impression looking at the game, although I've only been following the sport for three years and I know that there are things I don't see.

Okay, so the refs were trigger happy. Big deal. Maybe McCoughtry and de Souza would have had to worry as well as Fowles, for all three of those players have a tendency to rack up fouls. Each team could have worked around that.

The problem, however, was that the refs were inconsistently bad in this case. The problem was Sylvia Fowles.

Now, let's back up. In no way, shape, or form am I stating that I thought Sylvia Fowles was deliberately trying to hurt Sancho Lyttle. What I am saying is that it doesn't matter if it was intentional, because Fowles's free-swinging elbows had an impact on the game that the referees simply ignored. For refs willing to blow the whistle every minute or so they never seemed to be looking in Fowles's direction.

Fowles hit at least three or four players that night with her elbows, and these weren't incidental contact hits either. These were "you're watching stars and planets rotate about your head" hits. We know about the Lyttle hit. Yelena Leuchanka also got hit, and I believe that Fowles clipped one of her own players (it might have been Mistie Bass).

There were two technical fouls called in this game. One was against Yelena Leuchanka. The crime was in complaining to the referee that Fowles had clipped her with her elbows. For that, Leuchanka got tee'd up. What the hell?

The second one was against Carol Ross, the Atlanta Dream assistant coach. This one requires some background. With about three minutes left in the game, and with Kelly Miller taking a couple of free throws, Sancho Lyttle was substituted. With the players lined up on both sides of the lane, Fowles was closest to the basket and Lyttle was standing next to her.

Miller missed the second free throw, and on the rebound, Fowles caught Lyttle under the left eye with the elbow. Lyttle collapsed to the floor, and was seemingly conscious for long enough to notice "I've been hit", grabbing her face. Afterward she collapsed into unconsciousness and was completely immobile for over a minute.

Words were exchanged, undoubtedly. I wasn't close enough to the bench to hear what was going on. Here's the important part: when you've got a player unconscious on the floor because she's been elbowed by an opposing player that the refs have not only refused to call a technical on, but have actually pinged one of your own players for bringing the matter up...well, would you expect words not to be exchanged?

Furthermore, Lyttle was immobile. We didn't know what her condition was. What if she didn't regain consciousness? That was a real stop-your-heart moment out there on the court. You can expect Atlanta's players and coaches to be...well, angry. That's part of concern for your teammate, that's one of the things that makes you a human being. And occasionally, you're going to lose your temper because of it.

Referees are mediators, and they have to make judgment calls. But just a few seconds later, the ref (was it Tiven) dinged Ross for a technical foul.

One person sitting next to me - whose basketball judgment exceeds mine - said that in all of her years of watching basketball, she had never heard of a coach getting a technical in a case when one of her own players had been knocked unconscious. Those are the times when you make allowances for temper, and those are not times to be martinets.

It was bush-league refereeing, and Tiven (or whoever it was that called the T) deserved every single boo that rained down on him. Way to go, dude. My, you're a big, big man for enforcing the rules. Except of course, the rules that prohibit you from swinging your elbows willy-nilly. But you're really great at teeing up a coach in emotional distress after one of her players got her head possibly smashed in. I'm sure that every player feels much safer that the game is in your hands.

From the WNBA official rulebook.

"The restrictions placed upon the players by the rules are intended to create a balance of play, equal opportunity for the defense and the offense, provide reasonable safety and protection for all players and emphasize cleverness and skill without unduly limited freedom of action of players or teams." (italics are my emphasis)

Maybe next time, Lyttle should bring a can of mace to protect herself. She'd be much safer than she'd be under the protection of any so-called WNBA "referee".

Of course, the referees could have simply canceled the technical. Why not? Referees - good ones, anyway - overturn each other's calls all the time. Or at the very least, apologized for it. Didn't the referee who killed that perfect game in baseball this year apologize for it? I didn't think the worse of him for doing so. It takes a big human being to admit that they're wrong and that they blew a call. The WNBA is infected with the pettiest referees (Price) that I think I've encountered in any sport I've followed outside of the WNBA. When it would behoove one to bend, they refuse to budge - I call it "doubling down on the stupid" - and I think less of them rather than more of them.

The WNBA refs are our dirty little secret. We get the kind of refs that we have because we can't afford any better. They're not just bad, they're not even consistently bad in some cases. The problem is that when players hit the floor unconscious, the dirty little secret comes out in the open. It's bad enough that we know how bad the W's referees are...but President Orender, does the entire world have to know about it, too?

Dream Lose to Sky, Lyttle Knocked Unconscious

More on this later.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Atlanta vs. Chicago, Saturday July 3

Who: The Atlanta Dream (13-4) take on the Chicago Sky (7-9) in an Eastern Conference game.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 19.8 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (14.5 ppg/10.6 rpg) is an All-Star caliber post, and Iziane Castro Marques (17.1 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.0 ppg/8.0 rpg). The Sky are led by Sylvia Fowles (18.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg) who is an MVP attender, and the Sky are backed up by Jia Perkins (10.4 ppg) and rookie Epipphany Prince (9.8 ppg, 19.6 mpg).

What: The third of five regular season games against the Chicago Sky and the last meeting until the middle of August - out of three three final games of the regular season for the Dream two will be against Chicago. The teams have split so far this season, with Chicago winning in Atlanta 80-70 on June 4 and Atlanta returning the favor in Chicago for the Dream's first win in the Windy City, 93-86 on June 15th.

Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta.

When: Tip-off is at 7 pm Eastern time, Saturday, July 3rd in Atlanta. You should be able to watch the game on Sports South in Atlanta and on NBA TV elsewhere. Comcast 100 in Chicago should also be showing the game. And of course, there's WNBA Live Access for those who have computers.

: Atlanta and Chicago might not be rivals, but the Sky always seem to know the answer for any question Atlanta poses. The Dream have won five straight and six out of their last seven but this is the Dream's fourth game in seven days and the only thing anyone can talk about is fatigue. It's something that Dream fans should be worried about given Chicago's success against Atlanta - the Sky are the only reason the Dream are undefeated at home this year. The Sky have won three of their last four games including an impressive 92-80 win against Connecticut in Chicago .

Something to look out for: the first half score. If the Dream are leading at the half, it's a good portent. The Dream have a 5-0 record in games where they've led at halftime...which means that 12 times this year the Dream were behind at halftime.

Another thing to watch is free throw performance. The Dream shoot 68.1 percent from the free throw line. It's not the worst of all time, by far - the 1998 Mystics shot 64.5 percent from the free throw line - but it is pretty bad, 11th out of 12 teams in the league. Iziane Castro Marques is hitting 62.5 percent from the free throw line and Erika de Souza is hitting 51.4 percent of her free throw shots. (Last year Erika hit 65.3 percent of her free throws.) You know it's a bad year for Erika when Armintie Price is outperforming her at the stripe.

Atlanta is favored by 6 1/2 by is only favored by one point by If you can get out there tonight and support the Dream, they'd appreciate it.

Sir Charles and Others of Note

Speaking of Atlanta Dream Facebook Fun, those fine young people who run the Atlanta Dream's Facebook page have a new album called Look Who Came to See Us, highlighting the celebrities who have visited the Dream over its three-year existence as an Atlanta institution.

Among the names:

Josh Smith
Dwight Howard
Sean May
Jason Terry
Julius Erving
Vivica A. Fox
John Smoltz
Charles Barkley

Go over there, give it a lock, join Facebook and then favorite the Atlanta Dream!

Yelena Leuchanka in Simmering...Green?

The Atlanta Dream Facebook Page recently posted this picture of Yelena Leuchanka. The caption on the page is "Yelena's AJC Fashion Shoot". I've not heard of such a fashion shoot, so I would like to see more photos. (The dress comment.)

I'm always of mixed feelings regarding "fashion shoots" involving WNBA players. I'm always reminded of either that scene in A League of Their Own where the Peaches are at some sort of charm school where the instructor recommends "a lot of night games" as the only possible cosmetic improvement for Marla Hooch, or Slapshot where Johnny Upton flashes the crowd "because I want you to have a heart attack and die so that we never have to do this s**t again."

Lynx Come Up Shortest of All Against Dream on Thursday

In case you didn't know yet, the Atlanta Dream moved to 13-4 on the regular season with a win over the visiting Minnesota Lynx by a score of 76-58 on Thursday Night.

The actual game night box score is here.

Pierce W. Huff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains the victory.

All in all, the Lynx score 29.9 percent for the night. I'd have to go over a lot of old box scores, but I don't remember the Dream ever holding an opponent to less than 30 percent. That the Lynx broke 50 was a surprise; if the Dream hadn't put Brittainey Raven in without about eight minutes left in the final quarter they might have been able to hold the Lynx to under 50...that is, if they weren't dead tired.

Twice in the Dream's history - last year against Connecticut and this year against Indiana - we held an opposing team to 62 points. That was our previous record, and the Lynx now how the Dream franchise record for Fewest Points Scored by an Opposing Team in a Game.

Monica Wright: 1-for-8 from the floor. When is someone going to fix that?

Good job, Dream. I don't expect us to beat Chicago tonight, but I'd sure love to see it. I'll be there!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Atlanta vs. Minnesota, Thursday July 1

Who: The Atlanta Dream (12-4) take on the Minnesota Lynx (5-10) in an interconference game.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 20.4 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (14.8 ppg/10.4 rpg) is an All-Star caliber post, and Iziane Castro Marques (16.8 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.1 ppg/8.3 rpg). Minnesota has five players who average double figures. Minnesota's Candice Wiggins (13.8 ppg) is out for the season but the Lynx have Rebekkah Brunson (13.6 ppg/10.8 ppg) and Seimone Augustus (17.7 ppg).

What: The first of two regular season games against the Minnesota Lynx - the two teams will meet again 13 days later in Minneapolis. Last year the teams split the season series, with the Lynx winning in Atlanta 91-85 on June 30, 2009 and Atlanta beating Minnesota 91-77 on the road on July 15th, 2009. Over the lifetime of the Dream, the record against the Lynx is 2-2, with each team always winning at the other's home court.

Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta.

When: Tip-off is at 7 pm Eastern time, Thursday, July 1st. Atlanta. You should be able to watch the game on Sports South - if not live, then game-delayed - but the game should also be on WNBA Live Access. For you clean living Minnesotans, the game should be broadcast on the BOB, 106.1 FM.

Why: The Dream have won five of thier last six games. The only loss was in Indiana, and the Fever only won by three points, 94-91. The Dream look as strong as ever, at least on paper.

However, the Dream will play four games in a week - Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - and even with home field advantage it has to take its toll in terms of sheer fatigue. Enter Minnesota, which is 5-10 but three of Minnesota's five wins come against lowly Tulsa. However, three of Minnesota's five wins also come on the road and the Lynx have won three of its last four. Unfortunately for the Lynx, they're the worst shooting team in the WNBA by a good margin, hitting only 39.5 percent of their field goals - hitting buckets at the rate of the 1998 Washington Mystics. Their opponents also hit 45.9 percent of field goals against the Lynx, the best in the WNBA.

(Note: Can you believe that the 2000 Miami Sol only hit 36.5 percent of its field goals? Ugh.)

The Minnesotans will have four days of rest coming in, but rest doesn't always help a team. The Dream are favored by 8 1/2 by and by 12 points by Let's hope that the Dream win their fourth straight tomorrow night.

Gallery: Dream vs. Mercury

Yelena Leuchanka's 13 points against Phoenix were a career high.

Craig Cappy over at has a gallery up of pics from the Dream's victory over the Mercury on Tuesday night.

If you like Dream pictures...and I know you do...then you know what to do. Click, and enjoy.

Dream Move to 12-4 on Season With Comeback Win Against Mercury

Very tired. Got back in late last night. The Dream sparked a 11-0 run over a couple of quarters late in the game to beat the Mercury 94-88 at Philips Arena. The Dream is 6-1 at Philips over the season and remain 1 1/2 games up in the Eastern Conference.

The box score is here.

Pierce W. Huff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives his writeup.

Associated Press writeup by George Henry is here.

Seth Pollack of SB Nation writes about the Mercury's woes.

Probably will have no time to write about this. Busy week. Minnesota shows up in Atlanta on Thursday Night and it's time to deliver a whuppin on them Lynxes. I'll be there!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Breakin' The Glass

Breakin' the Glass is a documentary about the American Basketball League. For those new to the WNBA, the American Basketball League is the league that came just before the WNBA started and briefly competed with the W. Some of the footage in this documentary is just priceless - it's very hard to find actual ABL game footage. (See a very young Katie Smith!)

All three parts of the documentary are on YouTube. See it while you still can!

Atlanta vs. Phoenix, Tuesday June 29

Who: The Atlanta Dream (11-4) take on the Phoenix Mercury (5-9) in an interconference game.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 20.5 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (15.1 ppg/10.9 rpg) is an All-Star post, and Iziane Castro Marques (17.2 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.3 ppg/8.7 rpg). The Phoenix Mercury might be without Diana Taurasi (22.9 ppg) but the high-scoring Mercury also have Candice Dupree (13.1 pgg/7.6 rpg) and Penny Taylor (15.9 ppg/4.9 apg).

: The second of two regular season games against the Phoenix Mercury. On May 28th, the Dream won 96-93 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta.

When: Tip-off is at 7 pm Eastern time, Tuesday June 29th. The game will be shown on NBA TV - at least the Dream's website claims that it will - but will probably be blacked out in Atlanta. However, you should be able to watch the game on Sports South - if not live, then game-delayed.

Why: For those who like to joke about a WNBA game ending with a score of 8 to 4 - you need to update your jokes by about 15 years. The Mercury average 91.8 points per game, and the Dream are #2 at 82.7 points per game. In the NBA, this would be 110 points and 99 points per game.

However, the Mercury have a couple of problems. The first problem is that even though the Merc score 91.8 points per game, they give up 91.9 points per game, more than any other team in the WNBA. Somewhere, the Mercury have forgotten how to play even minimal defense and they've lost their last four games. Second, Diana Taurasi hurt her back on the road in an 95-85 loss to the Mystics in Washington. She went to the locker room in the third quarter and didn't return to the game. She's currently listed as day-to-day and might not play in the Atlanta game, which could make it a five-game losing streak for the Mercury. You have to go back to 2005 to find a Phoenix Mercury team that lost five straight games.

A win against the Mercury would give the Dream a 3-3 record lifetime and would be the first ever season sweep by the Mercury. The last time the Mercury played in Atlanta the Dream won 106-76, the biggest win in Atlanta Dream history in terms of points scored and in winning margin, so let's all knock on wood. Atlanta is favored by 6 1/2 points by and by 10 points by If you want to see a fast-paced, high-scoring game against the defending WNBA champions that the Dream have a good chance of winning, tomorrow night is your night!

Marynell Meadors to be Assistant Coach at WNBA vs. USA Game

On July 10th, the usual WNBA All-Star Game format will change to "WNBA vs. USA Basketball" at an event called "The Stars at the Sun" which takes place in Connecticut. The purpose of the game is to give the USA Basketball team a really good team to warm up against.

The USA Basketball Team - in case you forgot - is coached by University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma. His assistant coaches will be Meadors and Jennifer Gillom, the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks.

The WNBA All-Star Team will be coached by Seattle's Brian Agler. Nancy Darsch, his assistant with the Storm, will be his assistant with the WNBA Team.

The game takes place on July 10th on Saturday at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.

Sparks Owner Writes About the Dream/Sparks Game

If you were unaware, Kathy Goodman - an owner of the Sparks - has a blog on the Los Angeles Times website, where she writes about the Dream's recent victory.

We did not play a good game on Thursday night against the Washington Mystics, so I was, not surprisingly, a little pessimistic coming into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Dream, which is atop of the Eastern Conference. I took some time on Saturday to get a little perspective and inspiration by visiting the Martin Luther King Center and the Carter Center in downtown Atlanta. By game time, I was fairly philosophical and just wanted us to play some good basketball, win or lose. So why is it the Sparks had to start so strong and get my hopes up all over again?


As the fourth quarter began, I was wondering whether I would have preferred it if I thought we had never had a chance in the game. Atlanta was first in the East; the Dream had scored over 100 points when we played them in Staples earlier in the season; I didn’t have a real reason to be hopeful. Except that first half. When we played the kind of basketball I knew our team could play. If they played like the first-half Sparks, we’d be good. If they played like the team that played the first three minutes of the third quarter, it would be hard. Although we started the final period by pushing the lead to four, in less than two minutes, Atlanta forced a tie. Philips Arena, which had been fairly quiet during the game, erupted. Within another minute, the Dream took the lead for the first time and never looked back. Castro Marques, who had been held to four points in the first half, exploded for 21 in the second half. Yelena Leuchanka, coming off the bench for DeSouza, scored six of her eight points in the fourth quarter, all in the paint.

Maybe Ms. Goodman needs to invite our owner, Kathy Betty, to a Sparks game in Los Angeles. Or failing that, I'll go. All I need is a round-trip plane ticket, c/o the Pleasant Dreams Blog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Career Points in an Atlanta Dream Uniform

A recent post was made at the Atlanta Dream message board stating that Iziane Castro Marques has become the first player to score 1,000 points in an Atlanta Dream uniform. So I decided to check on that.

Here is the list of career points leaders while wearing an Atlanta Dream uniform...and congratulations, Izi!

Iziane Castro Marques 1015
Angel McCoughtry 743
Erika Desouza 699
Sancho Lyttle 669
Betty Lennox 595
Ivory Latta 534
Chamique Holdsclaw 348
Jennifer Lacy 285
Tamera Young 270
Katie Mattera 220
Michelle Snow 185
Shalee Lehning 157
Coco Miller 150
Alison Bales 133
Kristin Haynie 94
Kasha Terry 92
Stacey Lovelace 91
Armintie Price 87
Camille Little 62
Kelly Miller 59
Kristen Mann 45
Yelena Leuchanka 44
Ann Strother 39
Nikki Teasley 39
Chioma Nnamaka 16
Brittainey Raven 11

Dream Sweeps Sparks for the Season with 89-81 Win

With the help of Dizzy Izi who scored 25 points, the Dream beat the Los Angeles Sparks for the season sweep. The Dream are 4-2 lifetime against the Sparks.

Pierce W. Huff puts it on virtual paper at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Associated Press releases the news.

The Dream needed a 13-0 run against the Sparks in the fourth quarter to put it away. Atlanta goes up to 11-4, and keeps a 1 1/2 game lead in the Eastern Conference. Up next: Phoenix on Tuesday night.

I might write more, or I might not. Very busy around the old homestead.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

WNBA Caturday

Malcolm the Cat tries to figure out the Western Conference, but is unable to run an Excel spreadsheet due to paw size.

One of the Greats

Guess who was spotted in Atlanta? Janeth Arcain! Hi, Janeth! Dream fan Scarab took a picture of Arcain with the #1 Atlanta Dream fan! (*)

There are so many great Brazilian players in Atlanta they're going to have to make the Dream's colors gold and green.

(*) - Address all disputes to Atlanta Dream Blog, Atlanta, GA :D

Atlanta vs. Los Angeles, Sunday June 27

Who: The Atlanta Dream (10-4) take on the Los Angeles Sparks (3-9) in an interconference game.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 20.6 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (15.3 ppg/10.9 rpg) is an All-Star post, and Iziane Castro Marques (16.6 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.6 ppg/9.0 rpg). The Los Angeles Sparks will have to depend on Tina Thompson (13.6 ppg/5.7 rpg) and Delisha Milton-Jones (12.6 ppg) with Candace Parker out for the rest of the season.

What: The second of two regular season games against the Los Angeles Sparks. On May 30th, the Dream won 101-82 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta.

When: Tip-off is at 3 pm Eastern time, Sunday June 27th. The game will be shown on NBA TV, but will probably be blacked out in Atlanta. However, you should be able to watch the game on Sports South - if not live, then game-delayed.

: This is a rare down year for the Sparks - the Sparks are at 3-9 and are threatening to win the Maya Moore sweepstakes in the 2011 WNBA Draft. Candace Parker will have surgery on her easily-dislocated left shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. Parker was averaging a double-double with 20.6 ppg and 10.1 rpg. Betty Lennox - remember her? - will probably have knee surgery sometime next week and she'll be out for four to six weeks. The Los Angeles Sparks are clearly a team in disarray.

Remember last year when Pat Summitt brought all of her close personal friends to fill up Philips Arena? Tennessee faithful hoped to see Chamique Holdsclaw and Candace Parker square off last year. What a difference a season makes. Parker's out, Holdsclaw and Snow have skedaddled to San Antonio and unless the rosters shuffle before tomorrow there won't be a single player with a Tennessee Lady Volunteer pedigree on the court.

Los Angeles's performance could depend on Tina Thompson, the final survivor of the inaugural 1997 WNBA season - so if you need a reason to come, it would be to see a legend playing at Philips. Thompson scored 24 points at home against Connecticut and lost by three; the Mystics stomped out the Sparks by 15 in Washington when Thompson was held to nine points. If Thompson has another bad game, the Dream could (hopefully) pick up their 11th win before the season is even half-over.

If the Dream wins tomorrow, it will be the first season sweep of the Sparks in the Dream's history and give the Dream a 4-2 lifetime record against Los Angeles. (It will also be the Dream's first ever home win against LA.) has Atlanta as a 10-point favorite, but I'm not counting this game as wrapped up until the final buzzer sounds.