Saturday, June 19, 2010
Who: The Atlanta Dream (9-3) take on the Indiana Fever (7-4) in an Eastern Conference Game.
The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 19.9 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (15.3 ppg/10.1 rpg) is an All-Star post, and Iziane Castro Marques (16.2 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.6 ppg/9.7 rpg). The defending Eastern Conference champions are back on track with Tamika Catchings (16.5 ppg/6.7 rpg) leading the team and with Shavonte Zellous (6.8 ppg) on the team after being acquired from Tulsa.
What: The second of five regular season games against the Indiana Fever. The Dream won the first of these games - their home opener - against the Fever on May 15th by a score of 66-62.
Where: Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
When: Tip-off is at 7 pm Eastern time, Saturday June 19th. The game will be available on Live Access.
Why: As in the year before, the Indiana Fever started 0-2, including the loss to Atlanta mentioned above. They've been 7-2 since then and have reasserted their dominance in the Eastern Conference. In order for the Dream to show that it's the best of the East, it will have to beat the Fever on their home court...where they play three times this year. A win moves the Fever to just 1/2 game behind the Dream in the tough Eastern Conference.
The 66 points to which the Dream were held were the lowest the Dream were held to since a meaningless regular-season ending loss against Washington last year. Before that, you have to go to July 2008 to a 79-66 loss against the Sacramento Monarchs - a team that no longer exists. Indiana is all about killer defense, with Catchings one of the all-time great defenders and the Fever holding their competitors to just 69.4 points per game. The Fever has come off home wins against what are proving to be two of the toughest teams in the WNBA - Connecticut and Seattle - and you know the Fever would like three in a row.
One interesting bit of trivia is that Tamika Catchings has hit 33 consecutive free throws, a franchise record. The Fever are favored by 5 points by covers.com, but I don't think the Dram will be intimidated. They have a 6-2 road record and are used to putting it together on the road, so if you see the Dream behind at halftime don't panic - the team have only led at halftime three times this season. Indiana is great at blocking shots, but Atlanta has great post players of its own and Indiana is a poor shooting team (42.2 percent), so it might require some defensive intensity for the Fever to win again.