Monday, May 31, 2010

Dream-Sparks Gallery

I'd call this a "mismatch".

This is from Eric Wade over at

Some great pics, so come over and take a look.

Atlanta vs. Seattle, Tuesday June 1

Who: The Atlanta Dream (6-0) take on the Seattle Storm (5-1) in an interconference game.

The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 24.0 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (15.3 ppg/10.5 rpg) and Erika de Souza (13.5 ppg/11.0 rpg) are averaging a double-double per game for Atlanta. Seattle has Lauren Jackson who is scoring 20.3 points per game. Sue Bird is scoring 10.2 points per game and averaging 6.5 assists per game.

What: The first of two regular season games against the Seattle Storm. Atlanta is 1-3 all-time versus the Storm. The two teams split the difference last year, each winning at home. The second of those two games was a 91-84 double overtime loss at Key Arena in Seattle on August 29 where the Storm scored 11 points in the second overtime period.

Where: Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.

When: Tipoff is at at 9:30 pm Eastern time, Tuesday, June 1st. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Why: As the league begins its second month of play, the WNBA brass couldn't have designed it better. The top team in the Eastern Conference and the top team in the Western Conference play on national television. The winner of this game becomes the early season favorite to win it all.

Atlanta is coming off six straight wins. Every team that has started the season with at least six straight wins in the 13-plus years of the WNBA has gone to the WNBA Finals - and with the way the Dream are playing, one can't blame the schedule or some other statistical aberration. The Dream are winning games by nine points per game, their 86.8 points per game is second only behind the Mercury, which has the same running, gunning style. But the biggest difference is in rebound differential. The Dream average 41.6 rebounds per game and their opponents only average 32.5 rebounds per game. The Dream run, but they also muscle, and Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza are deadly in the post.

The Storm, on the other hand, are no slouches. The Dream might win by 9.2 points per game, but the Storm are right behind them with an 8.0 points per game differential between the Storm and their opponents. The Dream might have early MVP candidate Angel McCoughtry, but the Storm have three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, a more all-around player than McCoughtry. The 29-year old Jackson is at the peak of her career, and her 20.3 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game aren't far off her career averages.

Both teams, furthermore, are deeper than just one or two marquee players. Camille Little is playing like a Top Ten player this season, averaging almost four more points a game than her career average. (Every year, Little's points per game have increased - she's shooting 45 percent from the field and averaging 11.2 points per game this year.) Tanisha Wright has similarly blossomed over her last two years. Alison Bales of the Dream might be the Sixth Woman of the Year. After taking a year off, she seems to have recovered both her shooting and her enthusiasm.

Can the Dream advance to 7-0? It will be difficult. Not only are the Storm a good team, not only are the Dream ending a four-game road trip but Seattle's Key Arena is mentioned by many players as the toughest place in the WNBA in which to play: the fans might be the most spirited fans in the WNBA. The Dream could lose, but if they win - they will be wearing the title of Team to Beat for the rest of 2010.

Dream Advance to 6-0 Over Memorial Day Weekend

For most of us during Memorial Day weekend, activities fell under the heading of vacation/obligation. For players in the WNBA, it was just one more working weekend. The Dream made sure that business was good when they beat Los Angeles last night 101-82 in Los Angeles, extending their record to a perfect 6-0.

Los Angeles is a favorite destination for the Dream. In all three years of the Dream's existence, the Dream have headed to Los Angeles for their single away game of the season against the Sparks in L. A. and come back winners each time.

This win sets up a match against the Seattle Storm (5-1) on Tuesday night in Seattle. It's the end of the Dream's three-game road trip and this game might be a preview of the WNBA Finals if the Dream and the Storm - the Storm lead the Western Conference - keep up their winning ways.

The Dream have won their six games by an average of 9.2 points per game. For those who have to compare everything to the NBA, that would be an 11 point per game victory margin. (The Storm are the next biggest winners, winning by 8.0 points per game.)

The game will be on ESPN2. Let's hope the game is as great as we believe it will be, and that it continues the Dream's amazing win streak.

Only five other teams in WNBA history have started the season with at least six consecutive victories. Here's the list and how each team ended the season.

Most Consecutive Wins to Start a WNBA Season
(minimum five wins)

2001 Los Angeles 9-0: WNBA Champions
2003 Los Angeles 9-0: WNBA Finals
1997 New York 7-0: WNBA Finals
1999 Houston 7-0: WNBA Champions
2007 Detroit 7-0: WNBA Finals
2010 Atlanta 6-0
1998 Houston 5-0: WNBA Champions
2007 New York 5-0: Playoffs First Round
2008 Minnesota 5-0: Did not make playoffs

Friday, May 28, 2010

You Ever....

...had to wrangle three brand new nine-week old kittens, get them to the vet and deal with an influx of Memorial Day visitors?

Yup. That's why there's no Dream-Mercury preview posted. I'll be lucky to see the game.

Go Dream!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation is Over

Angel McCoughtry surveys her world.

Every molecule of my body aches. But I'm back.

I didn't get a chance to see Atlanta's victory over the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden. Rebecca saw the game, however, and her report is here. Tara Polen over at took a lot of pictures, all of which are right here.

Did I say every molecule of my body aches? Yes, I'm did. Have a few things to take care of, but regular (??) posting should resume.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Day 1 of Vacation was a blast. Spent much of it on my feet, unfortunately.

The WNBA Hollinger Ratings should be up at RebKell soon. I wanted to wait until teams had an average of three games under their belt. Today's slate of games should do it.

I won't be able to see how Dream/Liberty turns out...well, not live, anyway. Dream to Make a Difference!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dream Advance to 3-0 on Excellent Performance

The Dream pretty much crushed the Connecticut Sun 97-82.

Lyttle's 27 points were a career high. Erika was very effective. Iziane scored 18 points and was shooting 7-for-7 at one time. Lehning had 10 assists. McCoughtry had 32 points, a basket short of tying her career high.

The only other 3-0 team in the W right now is Washington. Here's Pierce W. Huff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution breaking it down for you.

I go on vacation for five days. So posting will be even sparser than you expect it to. BTW: I don't think we've had a lower (announced) attendance than 4,092.

Holdsclaw: "It was a personal thing"

Chamique Holdsclaw gives an interview to the Silver Stars web site where she talks briefly about leaving Atlanta and the circumstances behind her departure.

"In my situation, I had a great team last year and I loved the players on my team. It was a personal thing between me and the coach. It had nothing to do with my teammates, it wasn't about basketball. You know, all my teams that I've played on in the past, everybody'll tell you I'm great in the locker room, we have a lot of fun and you know, early on it was because of my situation off the court, it was a personal reason which I could not control.

But, you know, this [inaudible] situation in Atlanta was something I didn't expect to happen. I mean I have a house there, you know, I lived there before the team was there and that's where I want to retire. But you know, you don't get everything you want so you can move on and you know, you welcome the new experience."

My translation: we don't know why Holdsclaw left, and we'll never know. "Personal thing" covers a hell of a lot of ground.

UPDATE: Holdsclaw talks to the Associated Press rep in San Antonio.

But Holdsclaw said she asked for a trade before training camp this year because of a dispute with coach-general manager Marynell Meadors.

Holdsclaw would not elaborate, only saying that it wasn’t about basketball and that it “was a thing of principle.”

“It was a lose-lose situation for me,” Holdsclaw said.

Okay, enough of the cryptic crap. Either say the reason, or stop hinting that there was one but that you won't tell anyone what it is. And you decide to throw all of this stuff only after you've landed safely in San Antonio?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Atlanta vs. Connecticut, Friday May 21st

Who: The Atlanta Dream (2-0) take on the Connecticut Sun (1-0) in an Eastern Conference match-up.

What: The first of four regular season games against the Connecticut Sun. Last year, the Dream played four games against the Sun, going 3-1. The last time the two teams met was an 88-64 win at Philips Arena on September 11, 2009 that clinched both a playoff spot for the Dream as well as second place in the Eastern Conference.

Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

When: Tipoff is at at 7 pm Eastern time, Friday May 21st. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South and will be available on-line at WNBA Live Access.

Why: These two teams have already played in the 2010 pre-season, with Connecticut winning by nine points in Connecticut. Let's compare the rosters, but only list players on the current rosters who were playing in the preseason game.

Atlanta: Lehning, Price, McCoughtry, Raven, Bales, C. Miller
Connecticut: Walker, Charles, Lawson, Montgomery, Griffin, White, Gardin, Hightower

Atlanta lost by nine - on the road - where Connecticut had four starters and the Dream only had two. I wonder if de Souza, Castro Marques and Lyttle will make an impression?

The last time these two teams met - in preseason - Tina Charles scored 21 points and nine rebounds. In their 13 point win over the Sky she scored 17 points and 10 rebounds against Sylvia Fowles. Is Tina Charles the real deal as a #1 draft pick? Her great performance against Fowles and the Sky is a good argument, but you need more than just one WNBA game. If Charles does as well against de Souza/Lyttle, Connecticut might be a real problem for Atlanta.

The Dream, however, are 2-0 on the season...and without Chamique Holdsclaw, who was waived earlier this week. The Dream have found others to rely upon, including Alison Bales who had six blocks against Indiana. If the Dream beat Connecticut on Friday, the words on everyone's lips might be "Holdsclaw who?"

Alison Bales Makes the AJC

Pierce W. Huff writes an article about Alison Bales and the turnaround of her career at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

From the article:

Bales re-joined the Dream this season and has made an instant impact. She had five rebounds and gave the team some needed energy off the bench in Saturday’s season opener at the San Antonio Silver Stars. She scored eight points and had four rebounds in Sunday’s home opener against the Indiana Fever.

Dream coach/general manager Marynell Meadors said this Alison Bales is completely different than the Alison Bales who played on the team during its inaugural season three years ago.

“I think two years ago she wasn’t real sure if basketball was in her future, and some things happen for a reason,” Meadors said. “I think when she got cut in Phoenix and didn’t have basketball, probably for the first time in her life, she decided she really missed it.”

Definitely give it a read.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interview with Marynell Meadors at

Rose Scott interviews Marynell Meadors at WABE about Meadors's basketball life and her approach to coaching.

According to Meadors in the interview, this might be the final stop in Marynell Meadors's career. She'll stay as long as Kathy Betty wants her and as long as she still enjoys the job.

So where will she go after leaving basketball? She'll spend time on her twin and interior decorating.

Great interview. Give it a listen.

2/2010 – Dream 66, Fever 62: A Tall Glass of Water

Okay, time to look back on that second game and start thinking about Friday.

Quarter-by-quarter box score: The by-quarter totals tell the whole story: tight first half, mini-surge by the Fever in the third quarter, complete and total collapse in the fourth.

Effective field goal percentage: Fever 42.8 percent, Dream 35.3 percent. In most cases, that would give the game to the Fever right there. Our shooting was horrible.

Turnovers: Dream 16, Fever 19. The Dream creep a little closer, but it isn't much of an advantage.

Offensive rebound percentage: Dream 41.8 percent, Fever 32.1 percent. You know it's a bad night when Armintie Price has more offensive rebounds (3) than any other single member of the Fever (2).

Free throw visits: Dream 20, Fever 13. The Dream only made 65 percent of those shots. The Fever made 61 percent. These last two games have showcased some horrible free throw shooting.

Now, let's look at the members of the Indiana Fever:

Ebony Hoffman: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals. Great game for Hoffman.
Tamika Catchings: 18 points, 4 assits, 3 steals. The only other member of the Fever to score in double-digits.
Tammy Sutton-Brown: 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Katie Douglas: 6 assists.
Bench Players: Contributed only 10 of Indiana's 62 points.

Alison Bales: I'll bet you're surprised to see Alison Bales up this high - and I'm not writing about her height, either. Bales actually played 25 minutes. So did McCoughtry. Only de Souza and Lyttle played more minutes, with 26 and 28 respectively.

Bales scored eight points going 2-for-2 from the 3-point line. But she was impressive across the board. Her raw plus/minus of +13 led all players. She had four rebounds and three steals, and an amazing six blocked shots. If Bales keeps playing like this, she'll play herself into a rotation. Bales, in my opinion, was the Dreamer of the Game.

Erika de Souza: This was a game ruled by height. De Souza used that height to her advantage to pick up a second-straight double-double: 14 points and 11 rebounds. If it weren't for her four personal fouls and six turnovers, she'd be the Dreamer of the Game instead of Bales. De Souza is just simply fantastic.

Kelly Miller: It looks like Kelly Miller woke up after the Still Snoozin' designation from the previous game. She had six assists, a +11 raw plus/minus and had four steals. Her 1-for-6 field goal shooting puts her performance in the category of good, but not great.

Armintie Price: Price is the player that got the most attention, appearing back in double-digits for the first time in a long time with 14 points, and could have had 20 if the clock/the referees had looked the other way. 5-for-14 shooting, however, isn't that great. A rarity: Price hit 4 out of 5 free throws (her lifetime completion is 53 percent.)

Brittainey Raven: We now drop back into mediocrity, which is to be expected for a game where the team shooting percentage was 33 percent. Raven was part of that, going 0-for-4 for the night, but she had five rebounds and really hustled.

Angel McCoughtry: 11 points and 7 rebounds, but it was a mighty ugly way of getting them. 4-for-13 shooting, four personal fouls, three turnovers. However, like Raven above, it certainly can't be attributed to a lack of effort - McCoughtry was playing with a busted lip for part of the game.

Sancho Lyttle: Lyttle's five points was an atypical outing for the Spanish League MVP. She went 2-for-9 from the line and missed two free throws.

Shalee Lehning: Before Lehning fans string me up, there wasn't much difference between Lehning's game and the games of McCoughtry and Lyttle, save in baskets. With two points and 1-for-3 shooting, Lehning is now averaging 1.0 ppg in the regular season. She had two assists and only played 15 minutes.

Iziane Castro Marques: What a difference a day makes! Castro Marques went from Dream to Dud in just 24 hours. She shot 2-for-9, including 0-for-5 from the 3-point line. Her -9 in raw plus/minus was the worst of the game, and Iziane only played 18 minutes.

I'm sorry, Iziane - but you're Still Snoozin'. Maybe the game the night before wore you out. Get your beauty rest.

Exit The Claw

It's official now: Chamique Holdsclaw has been waived by the Atlanta Dream. I don't know if her salary counts against the Dream or not, but according to the press release, "The team actively pursued a trade per Holdsclaw’s request but was unsuccessful."

Yelena Leuchanka is finally with the team. She will make her debut against the Sun at Friday night at Philips Arena. It looks like Leuchanka will take the roster spot vacated by Holdsclaw.

(So what do we call Leuchanka? The Bear Claw?)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Indiana Fever Blog

All: for those visitors who are fans of the Indiana Fever, you might want to check out Fever Week, the newest member of the blog family.

My dream: that every WNBA team has a dedicated fan blogger. And I suspect that it's going to happen soon.

2/2010 – Dream 66, Fever 62

Preach it! Atlanta is 2-0!

(Once again, great pictures from!)

Ah, for opening day in Philips Arena. There’s nothing like sitting with a bunch of fans to remind you that basketball season is here. One can watch games on television, but no matter how loud I scream at my TV my chances of catching a thrown T-shirt are zero.

1) Something different in the air…starting out with the choice of music. The warm-up music has gotten a little more “poppy”. In the last two years, the warm-up music was by a lot of obscure (to me) rap artists. (The good thing was that the music was so catchy that I wanted to look up who the performers were. How else would have I have discovered Soulja Boy?)

The first song pounding out of the speakers was the inescapably catchy but auto-tuned “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus of all people. Funny, when I think of Miley Cyrus I don’t think of WNBA warm-up music. “Telephone” by Lady Gaga also made an appearance, which begs the question: do the players pick their warm-up music or is it someone else?

2) Jordan showed up from the “Armed With a Dream” program. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the Dream has teamed up with the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta (through Aaron’s Inc.) to wear the name of a patient at Children’s Hospital as a stick-on tattoo. Jordan, the honoree for this game, was rocking a mini-Dream jersey and was walking the court and surveying the 2010 Atlanta Dream.

3) The staff seems to be a lot more polite than usual. Maybe it’s just because of the first home game, but DAMN they were on the ball.

4) There were a few fans sitting in the upper bowl. I thought that the goal for the 2010 Dream was to have everyone sit in the lower bowl of Philips Arena to increase the intimate feeling. I guess season ticket-holders just like their seats.

5) The Aaron’s Inc. name is on the court.

6) With ten minutes before tip-off, the crowd is rather thin looking. There were some traffic issues, definitely – I saw more than a few orange cones on my way to parking – but I thought we’d really have a better turnout.

As it turned out, announced attendance was 7,337 – not a sellout, even under the guidelines of WNBA sellouts. My wife thought that with the following day a school night, that really kept a lot of families from attending a 7 pm Sunday night game. I agreed, but now I’m really rethinking that. What other sport would make such an excuse? Just remember, if you don’t show up, the only thing the bean counters will conclude is that no one cares.

7) Nerae Bailey – forgive the spelling – was the National Anthem singer. I was distracted, but she seemed to do an okay job.

8) And now, it’s time to announce the players. We had DJ-E doing…something…and as the players came out onto the court, there were literally fireworks. As in big explosive BOOMS! with a cascade of sparks from the sky!

My God! I thought this game was taking place in Poland, where they know how to celebrate women’s basketball! That got the crowd up on their feet, and fast! More, please! It was going to be a party atmosphere.

9) We got a guest appearance from WNBA President Donna Orender. Supposedly, she was supposed to be at a season-ticket holder function but didn’t show. Apparently, she made it to the game just in time to introduce new Dream owner Kathy Betty.

Betty thanked our new sponsors, Aaron’s Inc. and Coca Cola Enterprises. She then introduced the Dream fans as the “12th Player”. My question is that is the WNBA roster expand again, will the fans lose their “12th Player” status?

10) The starters:

Atlanta: McCoughtry, de Souza, Castro Marques, McCoughtry, Lehning

Indiana: Catchings, Sutton-Brown, Douglas, Hoffman, Bevilaqua

11) The Dream come out of the gate fast, perhaps fearing more fireworks. The first quarter will set the tone for the rest of the game – a very close game, with neither team separated from the other by more than a couple of baskets.

The Dream set an athletic pace, and manage to build a momentary 10-4 lead. I was watching Iziane Castro Marques, who was matched up against Tully Bevilaqua. By this point in the game, Tamika Catchings hadn’t yet scored and if the Dream could keep that from happening we had a good chance of winning. Angel McCoughtry was a real problem for Indiana as they tried to move the ball without her getting her hands on a pass.

12) Halfway through the first quarter, the game shifted back in the direction of Indiana but the Fever could never go up by more than a basket.

Regarding Iziane Castro Marques – if she wants to shoot, she’ll shoot and defense be damned. I watched her go one-against-three, driving to the bucket for a basket. A friend of mine said, “Izi’s going to shoot, and she doesn’t care.”

13) Entering the game around the end of the first quarter – Armintie Price and Brittainey Raven. Raven officially enters the WNBA record books as this is Raven’s first WNBA game.

14) First quarter stats were a pretty even match-up. Both teams shot equally well. Atlanta had more rebounds, but Indiana had eight assists to the Dream’s three.

15) For the entire second quarter of the game, the margin of any team’s lead would be no greater than three points – a single WNBA basket. Alison Bales, in her second game since the end of the 2008 season, got a piece of a block. She blocked the shot, passed the ball to Kelly Miller, who was fouled by Jene Morris. Miller would hit both free throws and tie the game.

16) However, the Dream often found themselves trying to grab a greased pig of a ball. The glittering diamond for the Dream was Armintie Price, who scored back-to-back baskets – she was in top form during this game – and found herself alone again in the back court when the Fever called a quick timeout to keep Price from scoring six straight points on them. Price single-handedly turned a 23-22 deficit into a 26-23 lead.

17) For a few brief moments of the second quarter, both Alison Bales and Erika de Souza were on the court. Big athletic women who can move (well, Bales can move some of the time). The thought of both Bales and de Souza had to be giving Indiana fits.

One of the reasons that Bales is so dangerous is that despite being a 6’7” big woman, Bales can actually hit a three pointer. An equivalent height in the NBA would be 7’1”. Indiana left Bales alone behind the arc, and Bales calmly set up and sank a 3-point shot that restored the lead to Atlanta again, 33-31.

Of course, Tully Belivaqua answered with a three of her own and Atlanta was down again.

17b) During a commercial break or timeout or whatever, the Dream had a celebrity dads three-point contest. One participant was Roi McCoughtry, Angel McCoughtry’s father. The belief was that Angel inherited her athletic prowess from her father, but if I recall correctly Roi McCoughtry was a forward at Coppin State and looked positively awkward trying to sink a 3-pointer. He managed to sink one, but he definitely had both feet on the boundary line, turning it into a long two.

I suspect daughter could beat dad in a 3-point shooting contest.

18) The end of the second quarter marked both sides swapping pairs of free throw attempts, with players usually hitting just one of two and not breaking the logjam. With the Dream up 37-35, Indiana’s last shot of the first half came on a 3-pointer by Katie Douglas – a shot that required a lot of passing by Indiana just to set up as McCoughtry was on the prowl. Douglas’s score puts the Fever up 38-37 at halftime.

19) McCoughtry had been missing for a big stretch of the second quarter. Only at halftime did I learn where McCoughtry had been. Apparently, she had taken an elbow to the face. She lacerated her lip, and the resulting injury required three stitches. (Marynell Meadors would later say five stitches but everyone else says three.)

Of course, athletes suffer injuries like this all the time, but if I had taken an elbow to the lip that required three stitches, I’d be squalling like a 3-year old girl, and you better believe I wouldn’t be back on the court. All together now: WNBA players are tougher than you are, Pet.

20) Halftime stats had both teams shooting evenly: Indiana 46 percent, Atlanta 44 percent. The Dream had 11 turnovers but also 18 overall rebounds to Indiana’s 14. There wasn’t much room in the box score anywhere for one team to gain an advantage.

Ebony Hoffman led the Fever with 11 points and Tamika Catchings had 10. Erika de Souza and Armintie Price had eight points each, and Kelly Miller had four first-half assists.

20b) One thing I noticed a couple of times – Douglas wanted to sneak up behind Lehning a couple of times and strip the ball from her. She almost succeeded. Lehning better learn to watch her back.

21) Halftime entertainment was from some performers named…Craig? I don’t really know how that’s spelled. I don't know what Craig? is all about. It seemed like a whole lot of dancing, but nothing really spectacular. Then again, I wasn't paying attention, trying to get updates on McCoughtry’s injury and answering questions from people who wanted to know the truth about Holdsclaw’s holdout.

22) In the third quarter, for the first time since the first quarter one of the teams managed to pull out in front by four points or more. Unfortunately, that team was Indiana. Ebony Hoffman hit a mid-range jumper, Tammy Sutton-Brown scored from point blank range, Catchings hit a jumper and before you know it, Indiana was up by five, 44-39.

Erika de Souza still looks beat. Didn’t someone at the Painel do Basquete Femenino Blog say that de Souza looked overweight? I don’t think that’s it, but she looked tired. She was fresh enough to score off a backdoor pass from Iziane, but when Izi missed her fourth three-point attempt of the night, Meadors decided she didn’t like what she was seeing and called a time out.

23) One problem was that Angel McCoughtry couldn’t get her shots going.

24) Indiana was charged with a 24-second violation this quarter. Remember that.

25) Both Angel McCoughtry and Sancho Lyttle went to the line for two shots, each hitting just one free throw. If Lyttle had hit both the Dream would have tied the game, but the miss of the second shot left the Dream behind 44-43.

Ebony Hoffman followed up with a long two-pointer just inside the arc. Tamika Catchings would hit a mid-range jumper to put the lead at five.

Shalee Lehning got the ball inside, but instead of taking the shot – which she should have done – she dished the ball back out to Iziane Castro Marques, who never met a shot attempt she didn’t like. Her 3-point attempt was an airball.

Ebony Hoffman would be fouled by Erika de Souza on the next possession. Hoffman sank both of her free throws, and the Fever led 50-43, the biggest lead of the night.

26) With Izi helpless from long range and with McCoughtry adding another 3-point airball, it was up to Alison Bales to hit the Dream’s second three-pointer of the night to bring the Dream back to 50-46.

27) It was about this time that Price really went to work. I was surprised at how aggressive and athletic Price was. When Price was one-on-one, she was…unstoppable. This was the Armintie Price that everyone thought would come out of the 2007 draft. She basically willed it in, picked up a foul from Allie Quigley, and got the free throw to close the score to 50-49.

28) With less than three minutes left, McCoughtry was called for a foul and spent some time jawing with the referee. I was later told that you don’t really feel the pain of stitches in your lip until the next day.

29) The Dream then gave up the next five points. Part of the problem was that the Dream were over the limit in fouls. Indiana got to the foul line for two visits and hit three of four free throws.

The only highlight of the last couple of minutes was Price scoring on a breakaway, all along on Indiana’s side of the court. Price almost closed the gap to one point on a long buzzer-beater that was marked as a 24-second violation. Briann January ended the quarter by making the final shot, and Indiana was up 58-55 going into the last quarter.

The Dream’s shooting had slipped to about 40 percent by this time while Indiana still held strong at 45 percent. The rest of the box score was the same old log jam.

Ebony Hoffman had 17 points for the Fever, with Catch right behind at 16. The Dream’s scoring leader was…Armintie Price with 13. Kelly Miller has six assists at this point in the game.

30) And then, suddenly out of the sky, hundreds of dogs appeared…. It’s Dogmaggedon!

…no, you’re not reading science fiction. It was the Aaron’s Inc Dog Drop! Several miniature Lucky-the-Dogs – the mascot of Aaron’s Inc. – parachute dropped individually from the roof of Philips Arena down into the stands.

The crowd absolutely ate it up. I loved it. It was just a great reward, and it got the crowd in a fantastic mood for the fourth quarter.

31) A side note: my wife and I have Comcast, which uses a DVR system. The box that allows us to change channels also has a hard drive that allows us to record shows for later viewing.

However, there can be…delays between our box at home and the home Comcast server located down in the depths of Mordor. Every hit pause on your DVR and then be unable to play anything for five minutes? That was the Indiana Fever during the entire fourth quarter.

32) To describe the fourth quarter would be like trying to describe the moon landing with the introductory vocabulary list of Let’s Learn English Significantly! used in Japanese grade schools. The only vocabulary that comes to mind is that from Doctor Who, where temporal mechanics are described as “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff”.

Suffice it to say, the Fever just…stopped. Paralyzed. Immobile. Oh, Atlanta wasn’t doing anything either for long stretches of the fourth quarter. You’d look up at the scoreboard and see a 58-56 Fever lead and then you’d come back two minutes later and it would be 58-56 and there would be a timeout or someone would ask you for the popcorn, and you’d look at the score later and it would be the same one – 58-56. I almost thought I was in the movie Groundhog Day and expected to hear “I Got You Babe” playing over the speakers at Philips.

Even I don’t know what happened! And I was there!

32) During the approximate five minutes of time-lock, the Dream were just all over Indiana defensively. They acted like that little sister with you in the back seat who keeps going, “I’m not touching you!” while violating every other boundary of social distance. Indiana looked completely flat, like the older brother remaining perfectly still, trying not to be provoked into something stupid that would earn a smack on the back of the head.

33) An Armintie Price drive was negated on a foul by Briann January that, in my opinion, would have resulted in a basket.

Price had at least three shots taken away from her. One on a buzzer-beater that didn’t beat the buzzer according to the refs, that Briann January foul and a later shot that rolled around in the rim before being coughed out by the basketball goddesses.

34) During Slow Time, Indiana had not one, not two, but three 24-second violations. Over a minute of that Slow Time was caused by Indiana just not doing anything. If the plan was for Indiana to hang on the ball for long enough for the Dream to make a mistake, that plan wasn’t working.

35) While the Philips Phaithful hoped for someone (preferably the Dream) to score, we got our first Karaoke participant – Armintie Price, jamming to “Proud River”. For those who don’t know, Price is really cool up close and personal.

In the house, undoubtedly listening to karaoke – Steve Smith of the Hawks. We were glad he was there, but I’m sure everyone at Philips was wishing he would have been on the court in an Eastern Conference Finals game. Maybe next year.

36) About the crowd – it wasn’t a big crowd, but it stayed until the end. The crowd was in a better mood that I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone was happy. No one was sitting on their hands. The joint was jumping. I think the crowd’s energy was contagious – a positive for the Dream and a negative for the Fever.

37) At 5:15, the logjam was broken. Erika de Souza took a shot and missed it, but got the tip-in on her own offensive rebound. The game was tied at 58-58.

38) Armintie Price was still performing magic tricks. I’m sure there are better 1-on-1 players in WNBA history – but for this game, at least, Armintie Price is the best 1-on-1 player I’ve ever seen in a game.

Chamique Holdsclaw beats you with her timing. Price beats you with her lateral movement, able to go either direction in a flash and able to twist her limbs in such a way that there’s a free path from her release to the basket. Amazing.

Price picked up the foul on the drive. She hits one of two free throws and the Dream lead 59-58. It is the first Atlanta lead since late in the second quarter.

39) The Fever answers back on a Catchings jumper. Brittany Raven takes the second shot of the night from her that I thought was badly timed – the kind of shot that has no prayer of going in.

Raven might not have figured out how to shoot in the WNBA, but you can’t doubt her work ethic. In my last game writeup I complained about how Lehning would stand around in the back court. Raven, needing to make it to the other side of the court to assist defensively, simply took the long way around, following the path of the three point arc.

40) We have less than three minutes to go. Indiana, the defending Eastern Conference Champions, have been held to two fourth-quarter points.

The Dream does its “Cam Dance” feature to the tune of the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Apache”, a crowd pleaser. An eighty-plus (?) year old woman in a white shirt hiked up to her rib cage does a handkerchief dance that wins the Cam Dance competition in a rout.

41) The Dream manage to force a turnover. McCoughtry hits a long two-pointer to give Atlanta back the lead, 61-60. With less than two minutes remaining, the Fever bring the ball back across the court…slowly….

…too slowly. EIGHT-SECOND VIOLATION. Dream ball. The crowd goes wild.

42) Brittainey Rave attempts another 3-pointer – and once again, misses, but gets her own rebound. Alison Bales manages to sink the jumper for Atlanta and the score is 63-60.

One minute left.

44) Indiana tried in vain to tie the score. They worked the clock as much as possible. Ebony Hoffman tried a 3-pointer and missed, and Atlanta got the ball with
37 seconds left. This time, it was Atlanta's turn to work down the clock.

Unfortunately, Tamika Catchings showed why she's a great defender. She stole the ball from McCoughtry and attempted a 3-pointer...and missed. Team rebound to the Dream.

45) The Dream crowd is kicked into frenzy as “Apache” plays once again, with video clips of the Rockin’ Granny of Atlanta.

46) Indiana has to foul. With 8.8 seconds left, Kelly Miller comes to the line for two free throws. She manages to sink both shots giving the Dream a 65-60 lead with a few seconds left.

Katie Douglas sinks the lay-up at the other end three seconds later. 65-62 Atlanta. With just 4.2 seconds left, Indiana has to foul again on the inbounds and hope that Atlanta misses both free throws.

47) The Fever foul McCoughtry. If McCoughtry sinks one free throw, the game is pretty much over….

…McCoughtry…misses the first one. But she hits the second. 66-62 Dream.

In the brief amount of time left, Indiana can’t do anything. The final buzzer sounds, McCoughtry embraces Price and this game is in the record books.

(* * *)

Wow. What a game! I really feel pity for anyone that missed it. I know, maybe a game on Sunday night would be impossible for a lot of out-of-towners. But Tina Charles and Connecticut come to Atlanta on Friday night, so you don’t have any excuse to miss that one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

1/2009 - Dream 75, Silver Stars 70: Effective Izi

Okay. We now remove all the fun from the win by taking a surgeon's scapel to it. Hopefully you didn't forget that game on Saturday. You know, when we went to the Silver Stars home court and beat them?

Dean Oliver's Four Factors gets heavy play:

Field goal shooting. We don't use the normal field goal percentages around here. Us statheads use "effective field goal percentage", where every 3-point shot counts as 1 1/2 ordinary shorts. For those mathetmatically inclined:

Effective field goal percentage = (FG + (1/2)*3P)/FGA

The final numbers:

Dream: 45.5 percent
Silver Stars: 44.3 percent

Shooting really wasn't the key to the Dream winning. The edge is a slight one. Maybe in some other stat.

Turnovers: San Antonio 20, Dream 22. Sort of a wash, really. Neither team held on to the ball well.

Offensive rebounding: The Dream had 13 rebounds and the Silver Stars had seven. But what was the Dream's offensive rebounding percentage?

The formula would be OR/(OR + Opp DR), where OR = "offensive rebounds" and DR = "opponent's defensive rebounds".

Dream Offensive Rebound Percentage = 13/(13 + 23) = 36.1 percent
Silver Stars Offensive Rebound Percentage = 10/(10 + 28) =26.3 percent

The real key to the Dream's win was that we outrebounded San Antonio. San Antonio really struggled on the offensive boards. Put it this way: the entire San Antonio team only had three more offensive rebounds than Erika de Souza.

Free throw visits: Dream 25, San Antonio 16. Both teams shot horribly: the Dream hit 52 percent of their free throws...but the Silver Stars hit just 50 percent. Incidentally, the Dream's +5 margin in free throws was exactly the margin of victory.

(* * *)

We give some props to our noble opponent by looking at the San Antonio Silver Stars:

Becky Hammon: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists. Hammon certainly wasn't tired, but as Erika de Souza can tell you, Hammon certainly didn't wear herself out in Spain.
Sophia Young: 15 points, 2 rebounds. And she was tired. She might have had 25 points if she had some oomph.
Michelle Snow: 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 5-for-7 shooting. The ex-Dream player made a good impression in San Antonio.
Megan Frazee: 5 points, 3 rebounds. Her +9 raw plus/minus was the best on the San Antonio team. Why didn't they play her more?

And now, we'll take a look at the Atlanta Dream performance, from toppermost to bottommost:

Iziane Castro Marques: 23 points, 3 assists, 4 steals. 9-for-18 shooting. I've written before about the "Izi Effect" where Iziane's best performances come when the Dream is losing. Not this time. Izi carried the Dream. Maybe Iziane's one of those players that looks perpetually forward to new starts. But you have to give her credit despite her +2 raw plus/minus - Iziane was by far the Dreamer of the Game.

Angel McCoughtry: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals. Nice numbers, but with some caveats. First, it took 25 shots to make those 20 points - 20 field goal attempts and five free throw attemps. Also: three personal fouls and six turnovers. Maybe McCoughtry was trying a little too hard. Even with those asterisks, it was a pretty good game that lots of WNBA players would have loved to have.

Sancho Lyttle: 16 points, 7 points. She had five personal fouls, however, which kept her on the bench for long stretches of the first half after she picked up two quick personal fouls in the opening minutes. Her 6-for-9 shooting was impressive; imagine what she could have done without the foul trouble.

Erika de Souza: 11 points, 15 rebounds. A double-double looks impressive on any stat line. Her shooting however was just 5-for-14, which is quite low for The Beast from Brazil - she can usually bank them in from point-blank range. Her +10 raw plus/minus was the highest of the team - the Dream just did better on the court when Erika de Souza was on it.

All of this despite the fact that de Souza was obviously tired. A double-double when exhausted. She is clearly The Beast in the best sense of the word.

Shalee Lehning: One of Lehning's goals for 2010 was to be a better shooter. Her goal wasn't in range for this game: she took three shots and missed them and took three free throws and missed them. We take away credits for stuff like that. (That and four personal fouls.) But she had six assists - the most of any player on either team - and she had five rebounds, including the offensive rebound than ended the game.

Armintie Price: Here is where we sink into mediocrity. It's to be expected: of the Dream's 75 points, the five players above scored 70. Price had some good shooting - she was 2-for-3 with 4 points - but she wasn't a firebrand on the court. At least...not this game....

Alison Bales: Bales was actually decent in the sense that she wasn't embarrassing or inept - what you'd expect of a marginal player after a one-year layoff. Bales had one point but had five rebounds and a +9 raw plus/minus. Bales might come along this season if Leuchanka doesn't take her job on Wednesday.

Coco Miller: She's the Miller twin who played with the Dream last year. Frisco del Rosario said that he expected a "double billion" sometime this year from the Miller twins. (A "billion" is a line of nothing but zeroes in the box score.) Coco Miller has one steal and avoided ignominity.

Brittainey Raven: Didn't play. Coach's decision.

Chamique Holdsclaw: Didn't play. Holdsclaw's decision.

Kelly Miller: She played six minutes. No points, and three turnovers, averaging a turnover every 190 seconds. Those aren't pro numbers. So Kelly Miller gets the Still Snoozin' award. That's looks like we can set the alarm for this Friday, at the latest.

1/2010 - Dream 75, Silver Stars 70

The secret of Izi's success? Blow on your opponent's hair.

(By the way, that picture above came from a cool gallery from which you can find here.)

Before I start, I have to say that Fox Sports South rules. They broadcast the Atlanta-San Antonio game from San Antonio, so I didn’t get to miss a moment of high-definition Atlanta Dream goodness. There’s a major difference between watching a game on WNBA Live Access and watching it on a broadcast network. When watching it on WNBA Live Access (at least last year) the graphics were…well, let’s just call them primitive. They usually reminded me of junior high AV graphics…and I went to junior high a lonnnnnnng time ago.

So let’s jump in as if the last seven months never happened…..

1) The announcers for the game were Andrew Monaco and Tai Dillard. I suspect that this was a San Antonio feed of Fox Sports sent directly to Atlanta, unless they have a lot of Aaron’s Inc. commercials in San Antonio.

Yes, it looks like the Dream’s partnership with Aaron’s Inc. is paying dividends, particularly if you like watching the Dream on TV. Aaron’s – in case you didn’t know – leases furniture. Way back when Hector was a pup, I was in Germany and I found out how convenient renting-to-own was – I wasn’t going to be in Germany for the rest of my life and I wanted creature comforts without the hassle of owning furniture. So if you’re going to Aaron’s, tell me how it’s working out for you.

2) The announcers listed that Becky Hammon was fifth in MVP voting. I don’t want to take anything away from Hammon, but fifth-place finishers in MVP voting are usually trailing farrrr behind the leader. So I probably wouldn’t have mentioned that. That’s like saying that Joe Shlabotnik is the American League Leader in Wednesday night triples.

3) The Silver Stars have an interesting coaching situation, with Associate Coach Olaf Lange as the acting coach. Lange looks….well, he looks as if he’d be carded if he tried to buy a beer.

4) Starting lineups:

Silver Stars: Hodges, Hammon, Young, Riley, Lawson-Wade.
Dream: De Souza, McCoughtry, Lehning, Castro Marques, Lyttle.

5) Once again, we’ve been treated with various pronunciations of Erika de Souza name. I thought it was “de-SOZA”, with the “soza” sounding a lot like “sofa”. But Monaco pronounces the name “de-SOWZA”, with the “sow” part sounding like “cow”.

You know what? To hell with it. I give up. I’m going to do what the Brazilians do and just call her “Erika”... all of their athletes seem to go by their first names like “Pele”.

6) And now, the 2010 Atlanta Dream regular season gets off to a start. The Silver Stars take a 4-0 lead, but it’s a momentary blip. The Dream look very strong in the first quarter, and even Erika looks good despite getting off the plane on Thursday.

Sancho Lyttle suffers two quick personal fouls, so she sits down. Alison Bales appears on a WNBA court in the regular season for the first time since 2008. Down 5-2, Iziane Castro Marques makes a jumper and Erika follows with a smooth fade away to put the Dream up 6-5. The score seesaws, with Erika getting her hands on a block.

I’m surprised that Bales is playing relatively well, despite her disappointing pre-season outings.

7) After about four minutes, the Silver Stars bring in Michelle Snow. I’m worried that she’ll try to seek revenge against her former team. But the person I should be worried about is Becky Hammon, one of the greatest players ever.

Falling to the floor, she heaves up the ball and makes an impossible basket. But if you’ve watched Hammon for any period of time, her impossible baskets are routine.

8) Down 13-12, Atlanta responds with an 11-1 run. San Antonio can’t get into the groove, turning the ball over six times. (After the game, Hammon’s excuse was that the team hadn’t jelled enough. In pre-season, McCoughtry swore not to make that an excuse because every team in the league has players coming in late.)

Seven of those points on that run belonged to Angel McCoughtry. McCoughtry is stepping up in a big way.

9) While San Antonio was getting knocked around the court, the camera focused on two matters of interest:

a) A couple of what appeared to be superannuated hippies watching. (Peace out, baby!) and
b) Sandy Brondello in all of her nine-months-going-to-give-birth-any-minute-now glory. So if Lange is the coach, what is Brondello doing on the bench? Why not let Lange do his own coaching? Will the players listen to Brondello or Lange?

10) During this time, the Dream have both Kelly Miller and Coco Miller on the court. They seem to play very well together. You know, some identical twins can’t bear to be separated, so maybe this is what both their careers needed.

(BTW: The play-by-play for the game simply has “Miller” listed as a player. Talk about identical twins being close.)

11) The first quarter ends 25-16 in favor of Atlanta. San Antonio is shooting 43.8 percent, but the Dream are shooting 57.1 percent – 12-for-21. Sometimes, all it takes to win a game is a hot hand…for four quarters.

12) At the game: Tony Parker. I have no idea who Tony Parker is, but I suspect he’s an NBA player. (Helpful Wikipedia helps me. He’s a player for the San Antonio Spurs, and from France. I suppose no one told him that all red-blooded he-men of America are supposed to hate the WNBA.)

13) With Atlanta hanging on to its lead in the second quarter, we see Jayne Appel in street clothes sitting on the bench. Frisco del Rosario commented on a post at Pleasant Dreams about why Appel’s draft stock fell enough for the Silver Stars to pick her – it was because of Appel’s history of injuries. Sure enough, there’s an injured Appel sitting on the bench.

14) Atlanta seems to be falling into a pattern of turnovers. Shalee Lehning isn’t helping. Lehning is matched up against Edwige Lawson-Wade, and Lawson-Wade gets the better of Lehning…twice. An eight-point Dream lead is whittled down to four points on at least one teal by Lawson-Wade against Lehning.

15) Atlanta has scored only two points in the first five minutes of the second quarter. Things are looking tight. At some point, the Dream pulls out Lehning because Edwige Lawson-Wade is taking Lehning to school.

Something I don’t like – Lehning standing around in the backcourt, waiting for a play to finish, NBA style. As someone new to basketball, this might simply be what point guards are asked to do – “stand over there and keep out of everyone’s way”. Compare this to, say, Kelly Miller, whose eyes dart back and forth like a cat after a mouse or to Angel McCoughtry who loves picking off passes from unwary opponents.

16) An illustration of San Antonio’s problems. With just over two minutes left in the half, the Dream attempt a shot and miss it. So they rebound it. And miss it. And rebound….

…Atlanta must have gotten five or six second chance opportunities and San Antonio was only saved by the Dream not able to sink the ball. That, and the fact that the Dream committed at least 13 turnovers in the half. De Souza picked up three of her rebounds for the night on that sequence.

17) The Dream begin to stretch the lead back to what it was. McCoughtry hits a pair of free throws. Bales hits a free throw. McCoughtry scores again – her 13th point of the game – and Iziane beats a double team to extend the lead to 40-29. Only Megan Frazee’s last shot of the half – a 3-pointer – kept the Dream from taking a double-digit lead into halftime.

18) The Dream are leading about 48 percent to 40 percent in this game. That’s enough to explain their 40-32 halftime lead. McCoughtry has 13 points, Iziane Castro Marques has 11 and Erika de Souza has 8 points and 10 rebounds.

19) Both teams’ combined free throw shooting at the half – 8 for 20. Atlanta 5-10, San Antonio 3-10.

20) The same starters come in for the second half, and it looks like Iziane Castro Marques must have thought Paulo Bassul was wearing a Silver Stars uniform. She gets a steal and drive, and follows it up with a steal and drive. The Dream are now leading 44-32.

Three minutes in, the Dream look solid. Mid-range spin shot by Lyttle. McCoughtry spin jumper and foul. McCoughtry hits the free throw, Iziane is fouled and hits one of her two free throws and suddenly the Dream have a 52-36 lead, the biggest lead of the game.

21) Sophia Young is looking just a little tired out there. Sancho Lyttle lays it up over Young who makes a weak effort to stop her. With the Dream up by double-digits, San Antonio’s announcers are talking about Michelle Snow. As they tell it, Snow was busy reporting to her new team about all the things that Atlanta would do and the best ways to stop the Dream. If that’s the case, then Snow needs her coaching pass revoked….

22)…or maybe not. As the third quarter passes its halfway point, the Silver Stars go on a 10-3 run. They manage to close the gap down to 10 points again, and a loose ball 3-pointer by Becky Hammon closes the gap to 57-50. After Erika de Souza hits a free throw, Hammon scores the final points of the quarter to bring the Silver Stars within two baskets again, 58-52.

San Antonio was clearly shooting better in the last part of the third quarter, or we were defending worse.

23) In the fourth quarter, Lyttle picked up her fourth personal foul. We got to see Iziane Castro Marques use some smarts. Ahead 62-54, Iziane thought to call a time out before falling out of bounds, retaining possession of the ball for Atlanta.

24) Michelle Snow has a couple of nice early fourth quarter baskets but a pair of free throws from Iziane gives the Dream a 68-56 lead. The two free throws are Iziane’s 20th and 21st points of the game.

The Dream manage to keep a double digit lead as they go into the final five minutes of the quarter. Lehning has four assists so far in the game and will pick up another two in the final quarter.

25) Down to the final two minutes. The Dream lead 73-63. All the Dream has to do is, in the words of the philosopher RuPaul, to earnestly strive to avoid error. (*) This combined effort has a wrench thrown into it by a R. Hammon who hits a 3 pointer and, after Lehning misses on the other end, picks up a couple of free throws on a foul by McCoughtry. The Dream’s lead is now cut to 73-68 with about a minute left.

26) Sophia Young has some smarts of her own. She throws the ball off Angel McCoughtry’s leg to retain a San Antonio possession, but the follow-up 3 point attempt by Megan Frazee is too strong. Sancho Lyttle rebounds, and the Dream have a 73-68 lead with 37.8 seconds left.

27) …and this is the part of the game were it gets thrilling.

With 37.2 on the clock, Lehning is fouled on the inbounds play. Clearly, San Antonio is willing to give fouls in order to get the ball back. Lehning steps up for two free throws. The first one misses. The second one hits…but Sancho Lyttle steps into the lane. Lane violation, free throw negated, and the ball is back in San Antonio’s hands again.

28) Another three-point play is drawn up by San Antonio’s Lange/Brondello crew. This time, Roneeka Hodges hurls the three but it rolls off the rim. Lyttle picks up the rebound again, and the Dream have the ball with 22.3 seconds left.

29) This time, Lyttle is fouled. She hits the second of her two shots and the score is 74-68 Atlanta. Hammon tries the three pointer but misses, but Snow gets the rebound and the quick put-back and it’s now 74-70 in favor of Atlanta.

Lyttle sees Iziane Castro Marques on her way to San Antonio’s undefended basket. Lyttle…overthrows. There’s no way that Iziane could catch that pass, and San Antonio gets the ball back again.

30) So who will make this attempt at a San Antonio three pointer? Big Shot Becky is given the task…and fails. Sancho Lyttle is there for the rebound yet again, and the Silver Stars have no choice but to foul her.

31) With 12.9 seconds on the clock, Lyttle hits the second of her two free throws. 75-70, Atlanta. Hammon makes a running jump shot, but misses. Shalee Lehning gets the rebounds, and Edwige Lawson-Wade is forced to foul Lehning. There are 1.6 seconds left on the clock, and if Lehning can sink two free throws this game is over.

32) Lehning misses the first free throw…and she misses the second! It’s time to hang a goat horn on Lehning…

32b) …but wait! Lehning gets the offensive rebound on the second missed free throw! (It’s her only offensive rebound of the game.) The game is over, and my heart can start beating again!

(* * *)

That’s it. The inevitable post-mortem follows. Which Atlanta Dream players are “dreams”…and which ones are “duds”, at least for this game? Read on!

(*) Or as Ru puts it, “Don’t f**k it up.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream Wins 66-62 in Home Opener

Pierce W. Huff reports about it here for all of you who weren't there. Frankly, I had a blast.

Okay. Two games need to be written up. Since the next Dream game is on Friday night, that gives me a few days to put something together.

The Dream are 2-0. We held the Fever to four points in the fourth quarter. Everything is good.

Atlanta vs. San Antonio, Saturday May 15th

Who: The Atlanta Dream (1-0) take on the Indiana Fever (0-1) in Atlanta's home opener.

Here are the final rosters of both clubs:

Atlanta: Alison Bales, Iziane Castro Marques, Erika de Souza, Chamique Holdsclaw, Shalee Lehning, Sancho Lyttle, Angel McCoughtry, Coco Miller, Kelly Miller, Armintie Price, Brittainey Raven

Indiana: Tully Bevilaqua, Tamika Catchings, Jessica Davenport, Katie Douglas, Ebony Hoffman, Briann January, Jessica Moore, Jene Morris, Shay Murphy, Allie Quigley, Tammy Sutton-Brown

What: The first of four regular season games against the Indiana Dream, who are the defending Eastern Conference champions. Last year, the Dream played three games against the Fever, going 1-2. The last time the two teams met was an 84-79 loss by Atlanta at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on July 17, 2009.

: Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

When: Tipoff is at at 7 pm Eastern time, today. (May 16, 2010.) The game is supposed to be televised on Sports South, but I don't know if you'll be able to see it in Atlanta. This game should be available on WNBA Live Access.

Why: Last year the Dream started their march to the playoffs with an 87-86 double-overtime thriller in Atlanta in the Dream's opening game, with Chamique Holdsclaw scoring 23 points, Erika de Souza scoring 16 points and 17 rebounds and Angel McCoughtry debuting for 15 points. And hey, if a win against Indiana worked once, it will work again, right?

The previous game against San Antonio implies that the Dream might use Angel McCoughtry and Iziane Castro Marques as a duo to stretch enemy defenses - defenders can either let McCoughtry and Izi roam the perimeter and give up 3-pointers, or they can hunt down the two in vain as either one feeds the ball to Sancho Lyttle or Erika de Souza. But the Dream can't depend on that plan for long - the starting five scored 70 of the Dream's 75 points in the win against San Antonio, and Erika de Souza didn't look too sharp despite Erika hammering the Silver Stars for 11 points and 15 rebounds.

For Indiana, the question is whether or not Indiana's Tamika Catchings can stay healthy. That, and if she can put behind her a 72-65 loss to Washington where she scored 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting and had four personal fouls. Those are good numbers, but they are not Tamika Catching numbers. Everyone is present on the roster - there are no holdouts and Indiana isn't waiting at the airport for anyone - so the Fever will be trying to avoid an 0-2 start to the season.

Chamique Holdsclaw still remains on the Dream's roster. Not suspended, not traded, and not showing up. Sooner or later, the Dream might have to consider suspension or release, but two wins without Holdsclaw will ease the pressure for an immediate resolution to the Holdsclaw drama. Brittainey Raven, who played Holdsclaw's forward role in training camp, is the only member of the Dream (besides Holdsclaw) to get no time in yesterday's game. With Leuchanka still on her way to Atlanta, expect to see more of Alison Bales.

Dream Wins in San Antonio; McCoughtry, Izi Score Big

Last night, the Atlanta Dream got off to a good start with a 75-70

Here is the Associated Press article. Angel McCoughtry scored 20 and Iziane Castro Marques scored 23.

I'll have more to write about this later. It's a busy day, and there's a game tonight at 7 pm at Philips Arena. If you love the Dream as much as I do - and I'm sure you do - be there tonight as we take on the Indiana Fever. Last's years playoff run got off to a good start with a win against the Fever, so let's do it again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Live Blog at Swish Appeal

I will be live blogging about this game at Swish Appeal. Here is the link to the Live Blog. I'll be watching from Fox Sports South, and I hope that weather permits to give me access to the internet - my connection is fickle during wet weather.

Digest 05-2010

With all the breaking news, there's not much of a digest this week.

* de Souza signs with Perfumerias
* What Helmut Says About the Dream
* (The Last of the) Dream Games Overseas reports that Erika de Souza will be playing in Perfumerias (Salamanca) next year in the Liga Femenina - the Spanish League. The agreement appears to be for one year.

"Even the best teams in Turkey and with more money were put into contact with it, but Brazil already had the idea of playing in Salamanca and desires are met. This will form a formidable inside game with Sancho Lyttle, plus his partner in the Atlanta Dreams of the WNBA."

Forgive the translation, but with both de Souza and Sancho Lyttle playing for Perfumerias, expect Perfumerias to be a Euroleague contender next year. Another article from stated that Fenerbahce was the team in Turkey that wanted de Souza, which would have put de Souza on the same team with Diana Taurasi if the deal had gone through.

(* * *)'s "Helmut" gives his betting preview of the Atlanta Dream.

Shalee Lehning played the quarterback role but was basically left unguarded because she couldn’t score (3.0 ppg) or shoot (20% 3-point). Unfortunately, the Dream didn’t do much to address the issue. They signed Kelly Miller who has a little more offensive punch to her game but while in Minnesota, Miller had her job snagged from her midseason by rookie Renee Montgomery.

To read the rest - or to get betting preview of eight other teams - visit the link. Yes, Helmut writes about a mysterious Armite Price...but if the readers get their money's worth they won't care about how first names are spelled.

(* * *)

The overseas season for the Dream is finally complete.

Fenerbahce 82, Galatasaray 78. Fenerbahce - which will be even stronger with Diana Taurasi next year - sweeps the Turkish League finals three games to none against Galatasaray despite Galatasaray playing the final game at home. Fenerbahce finished 22-0 in the regular season and swept the playoffs.

GAL: Douglas 22, Young 15, Catchings 13
FEN: Taylor 28, Vardarli 17, Hoffman 16 (Ajavon 10, Yilmaz 6, Sutton-Brown 2)
Yelena Leuchanka: 12 points, 5-for-8 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 offensive rebounds, 2 steals, 26 minutes played

Leuchanka should be in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Atlanta vs. San Antonio, Saturday May 15th

Who: The Atlanta Dream (0-0) take on the San Antonio Silver Stars (0-0).

Here are the final rosters of both clubs:

Atlanta: Alison Bales, Iziane Castro Marques, Erika de Souza, Chamique Holdsclaw, Shalee Lehning, Sancho Lyttle, Angel McCoughtry, Coco Miller, Kelly Miller, Armintie Price, Brittainey Raven

San Antonio: Jayne Appel, Helen Darling, Megan Frazee, Becky Hammon, Roneeka Hodges, Crystal Kelly, Edwige Lawson-Wade, Ruth Riley, Belinda Snell, Michelle Snow, Sophia Young

What: The first of two regular season games against the Silver Stars. Every Eastern Conference team (Atlanta) plays a home-and-away during the regular season against each Western Conference team (San Antonio). Last year the Dream swept the season series against San Antonio, winning in San Antonio 92-84 on August 6th and then winning at home in Atlanta 93-87 on August 20th.

Where: The AT&T Center at San Antonio.

When: Tipoff is at at 8 pm Eastern time, today. (May 15, 2010.) This game should be available on WNBA Live Access.

Why: We get our very first, for-real-honest-and-for-true look at the Atlanta Dream, as this game counts. Chamique Holdsclaw will not be suiting up - she never came to Training Camp and she wants a trade - but until the Dream can deal her she takes up roster space. With Alison Bales having not played in the previous year, with rookie Brittainey Raven, and with Erika de Souza literally having got off the plane two days ago, it will be interesting to see how the Dream handles the adversity of playing in San Antonio against a packed house for the Silver Stars home opener. (And the next day, the Dream opens in Atlanta.)

The Angel McCoughtry tour continues as McCoughtry will compete against rookie Jayne Appel out of Stanford. Appel was a highly-touted player for Stanford - some thought she had a chance to being drafted #2 - but a poor national championship game caused Appel's draft stock to fall. The last game McCoughtry played was against Connecticut and Tina Charles in the pre-season; we'll see how well Appel fares against Atlanta.

San Antonio has a few changes. The most important is at the coaching level. Dan Hughes, a great WNBA coach, has moved up to General Manager. His successor, Sandy Brondello, is out on pregnancy leave, so associate coach Olaf Lange will try to steer the Silver Stars to victory.

There's a revenge factor in this game as the Dream face center Michelle Snow for the first time wearing an enemy uniform since Snow played for the Houston Comets in 2008. Snow was a back-up in 2009 for the Dream after many thought she'd be a starter. Snow starts over in San Antonio, who needs a center after Ann "The Belgian Waffle" Wauters decided to sit out the season. Snow has the opportunity to make Meadors look like a fool or a genius depending on how well Snow can do against the All-Star Duo of Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Condoleeza Rice Loves the WNBA

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice shares her love of the WNBA with the greater universe.

This might explain why my sport of choice was figure skating (despite my 5’8” frame and 5’10” legs). Dressed in pretty sequined costumes and make-up, I twirled and jumped my way to a decidedly mediocre competitive career. Well, it was actually worse than that—my best finish was third in one competition.

Oh, if only someone had put a basketball in my hand when I was an already lanky 5’5” 10-year-old.

I read this to my (liberal) wife and her first comment was, "I'd say a lot of people would agree with her."

The WNBA's Dream Media Day Gallery

The new Kate, Jaclyn and Farrah?

There are some professional pictures taken by the WNBA photographers of the Atlanta Dream for yesterday's Media Day. Where's the link, you might ask? Why the link's right here! Click along to see all 19 pictures!

* See Erika de Souza's new look!
* Solve the mystery of Chanel Mokango's number!
* See the amazing barefoot owner!

De Souza Also Ready for Opener

Pierce W. Huff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Erika de Souza's arrival in training camp. She literally arrived in camp on Media Day:

Meadors said the only change she will make to help de Souza early in the season is to limit her practice time instead of her game time. Her goal is to conserve the wear and tear on de Souza's legs.

De Souza talked about Brazil a little bit....

“Rio is like having a country inside a city,” she said. “You can find everything there, nice people, wonderful nature, beach, friends, and this is my eternal home. People in Brazil poke fun on cariocas [citizens of Rio], telling them that we are ‘players,’ and this happens because in Sao Paulo and south Brazil, as it is colder, they have a different way of having fun, to see life.”

But to me, this was the most important part of the article. De Souza plays basketball for something beyond the love of the game - there are a lot of people depending on her....

De Souza uses some of the money earned from playing in the Euroleague and the WNBA to provide for her younger brothers, grandmother and father back in Rio.

“It is important that they have the opportunity to have a better chance in life,” she said. “In Brazil, the private schools are expensive, and it is important to invest in it in order to have the best scholarship as possible. Talking about my grandmother, I must confess I spoil her, everything she wants and I need I buy for her. She is my mom right now.”

What's the rule? IF YOU DON'T CLICK ON THE ARTICLE, THEY DON'T THINK YOU'RE INTERESTED. So show the lugnuts at the AJC something and click like a mad person. (End of rant.)

Dream Roster Finalized - Holdsclaw In, Mokango Out

The Dream were coming down to the wire - at 3 pm ET today, the Atlanta Dream would have to finalize its roster. Marynell Meadors made her list, checked it twice, and sent it in to the league office.

Here are the members of the Atlanta Dream as of this writing:

#0 - Brittainey Raven, guard. Raven most likely will be playing small forward, replacing Chamique Holdsclaw in camp. Raven was a third-round draft pick for the Dream in the 2010 WNBA Draft. She spent her senior year from the University of Texas. Raven will be the fifth youngest player on a roster in the WNBA this season, at 21.79 metric years.

#1 - Chamique Holdsclaw, forward. Holdsclaw did not appear in training camp, requesting a trade three days before camp started. It appears that Chamique Holdsclaw will remain on the Dream's roster until she's either suspended/released or until another team acquires her.

#2 - Kelly Miller, guard. The identical twin sister of Coco Miller. Kelly Miller played for the Minnesota Lynx last year and was acquired as a free agent. This will be Kelly Miller's first season with the Dream and the first time that both Kelly Miller and Coco Miller have played on the same WNBA team.

#5 - Shalee Lehning, guard. This is Lehning's second year with the Dream and her second year in the WNBA.

#8 - Iziane Castro Marques, forward-guard. This is Iziane's third year with the Dream.

#9 - Coco Miller, guard. The identical twin sister of Kelly Miler. This is Coco Miller's second season with the Dream.

#14 - Erika de Souza, center. This is Erika's third year with the Dream. She and Iziane are both native Brazilians. Furthermore, they are the only active Brazilian players in the WNBA.

#20 - Sancho Lyttle, forward. Lyttle was acquired through the Houston Comets dispersal draft and played with the Dream during the 2009 season, her first in Atlanta.

#22 - Armintie Price, guard-forward. Price was acquired in a mid-season trade with the Chicago Sky in 2009. This will be the first time that Price has been on the Dream's opening day roster.

#33 - Alison Bales, center. Bales came back to Dream training camp after an extended absence. She played the back half of the 2008 season and was there when the Dream won its very first game. She was let go in 2009 and hooked up with Phoenix, but was cut during training camp. She started taking med school classes at Wright State but was hoping to be picked up by some WNBA team, and without Leuchanka in camp the Dream needed another post. I suspect that Bales will depart when Yelena Leuchanka arrives next week.

At 6'7", Bales is the tallest woman currently on a WNBA roster.

#35 - Angel McCoughtry, forward. McCoughtry was the #1 pick in the WNBA Draft in 2009. She was the WNBA's Rookie of the Year that same year. This is McCoughtry's second year with the Dream.

Team captains have not been named.

What's more interesting is who isn't on the roster. Next week Yelena Leuchanka, a center from Belarus who attended West Virginia, will arrive in Atlanta. Someone up on that above list will probably be booted, so don't laminate your roster just yet.

The most surprising that Chanel Mokango did not make the roster - she failed to make the team. Mokango was the team's first round draft pick and the #9 overall pick in the WNBA Draft. If this is the end of Chanel Mokango's career, then Mokango will become the highest-drafted player never to make a WNBA team. The record was formerly held by Molly Creamer, drafted #10 overall by the New York Liberty in 2003. If Mokango catches on with a team, the record will revert back to Creamer.

Despite the fact that the Dream have the highest ranking person in the 2010 Draft that didn't make the team, they have the lowest ranking pick in the 2010 Draft that did make the team. Brittainey Raven was the #33 pick, and when Holdsclaw failed to show up for camp, Raven was asked to play Holdsclaw's position. Raven apparently managed well enough to earn herself a spot. Raven must be the Hardest Working Player in Show Business, and I'm sure that she must be walking on air right now.

As for former Dream players, it looks like both Ivory Latta and Jennifer Lacy were cut by Tulsa and Washington respectively. With both players having at least three years in the WNBA and not catching on with a tame this season, it's likely that we won't see either of them on a WNBA team until 2011...if ever again.

Tomorrow, the Dream's ten players (Holdsclaw ain't coming) will travel to San Antonio to take on the Silver Stars in their first regular season game. But don't worry - on Sunday the Dream return to Atlanta for their home opener at Philips Arena. More on that later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dream Tendered Offer to Lacy Earlier This Year

One of the most perplexing events of the 2009-10 offseason was the fact that Jennifer Lacy remained an unsigned free agent almost until the beginning of Training Camp. She was released by the Dream on April 26 and four days later the Washington Mystics signed her for training camp.

Given that one of Holdsclaw's motivations in signing for the Dream was to play alongside Lacy, the question was why the Dream failed to re-sign Lacy. Today, I communicated with someone...well, let's just say that it was very high up in the DFO, someone who would know exactly what was going on.

According to my DFO contact, the Dream tendered an offer to Lacy...and they heard...nothing. No answer from Lacy. So if Lacy wanted to stay with the Dream, she would have simply signed the offer and nothing would have changed.

Frankly, if I was in the WNBA and had a PER of 7.87 lifetime...if some front office tendered me a contract I'd sign it and risk a wrist injury by giving myself a high-five.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Major Sponsor Announcement Scheduled for Media Day

According to the Atlanta Dream, owner Kathy Betty will make a "major sponsor announcement" tomorrow. In attendance:

Atlanta Dream Owner Kathy Betty
Atlanta Dream President & COO Toby Wyman
Atlanta Dream Head Coach & General Manager Marynell Meadors
Representatives from major sponsor

Who knows what this means? Do we dare hope for a jersey sponsorship? "Major" can mean anything in the WNBA, but if the Dream wanted me to start salivating, it worked.

The End of the Holdsclaw Era

The following message was sent by Dream COO Toby Wyman to the season-ticket holders of the Atlanta Dream on May 11, 2010:

As we continue to build this franchise on and off the floor, we are at times faced with making tough decisions. We are currently challenged with one of the most difficult decisions this organization has encountered. Unfortunately, Chamique Holdsclaw recently expressed a desire to be traded. Chamique was an integral part of our success last year and we had every intention of keeping her and having her continue to play a key role with the Dream. We are actively pursuing a resolution to grant her request and we appreciate all that Chamique has done to help our young franchise.

So now, it's out in the open. The question isn't if there will be trade, the question is "when". After tons of smoke, we finally have fire.

Chamique Holdsclaw's tenure with the Atlanta Dream began on December 17, 2008 when they swapped the #13 pick to the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2009 WNBA Draft - the Dream already had the #1 pick - for the rights to Holdsclaw. (The Sparks would pick up Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton out of Purdue with the pick they acquired.) There were high hopes because Chamique Holdsclaw was probably one of the greatest women's basketball players of all time. (*) Even though Holdsclaw had her detractors - Holdsclaw's battles with depression were well documented and her walking away from the Sparks during the 2007 season let many fans down - The Claw was certainly a big-name acquisition for Atlanta.

At the time, the two biggest names on the Dream were Betty Lennox and Ivory Latta. Lennox had battled with coach Marynell Meadors and the only question among Dream observers was how Lennox would leave, not if. With Latta cut at the end of the 2009 training camp in favor of Shalee Lehning, this made Holdsclaw the biggest name on the team. Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza had yet to surprise the Dream with their great 2009 seasons. McCoughtry was the #1 pick in the WNBA Draft but she was still a rookie and some suggested that there would be other players in the draft at least as good as McCoughtry.

Holdsclaw could return to a leadership role in more ways than one in Atlanta . But it seemed that injuries plagued Holdsclaw before she even put on the Powder Blue uniform of the Dream. Playing for the Wisla Can-Pack Krakow team in Poland , a knee injury sent Holdsclaw home in mid-season. Holdsclaw was only able to play 11 games for the Poles in 2008-09. Even so, the goal was for Holdsclaw to have her knee rehabbed in the interim and to return to the Dream for the start of the 2009 WNBA season.

When Holdsclaw returned to the Dream, there was still some gasoline left in the tank. Holdsclaw exploded for 28 points in a Dream game against the Shock, and three weeks later scored another 28 against the Lynx in Minnesota . The Dream were 18-16 in 2008 and 14 of those 18 wins came with Holdsclaw. Holdsclaw's ability to move the ball for the Dream offense was outstanding - she could either burst by a defender or stop-and-start, throwing off the defender's timing and leaving her helpless.

As the season progressed Holdsclaw's knees caught up with her. She would only play in 25 games of the 2009 season. Her Player Efficiency Rating was 14.85 - the equivalent of an average player and not a superstar. In terms of PER, it was Holdsclaw's worst season. (For a player at Holdsclaw's level, "average" is bad.) Like a car's overheated engine, Holdsclaw's knees finally conked out and she missed the final nine games of the regular season. She returned for one game of the playoffs against the Detroit Shock but was a non-factor, scoring 3 points in 13 minutes of play. Holdsclaw did not return for the second game, watching from the bench, and the Dream were eliminated.

Even so, Holdsclaw was one of the parts of a successful 2009 season and many hoped that a (healthy) Holdsclaw would be back in 2010. Holdclaw's health problems persisted. She signed with the Good Angels Kosice team for the 2009-10 European season and after a couple of games, the Slovaks sent Holdsclaw right back home. The impression given by the Slovaks was that she had failed her physical, and Holdsclaw confirmed it in a Twitter post:

When I didn’t pass my physical in October with the team in Slovakia , I was disappointed. I felt this way because as an athlete, all you want to do is compete, and for a short time I was unable to do so. This whole experience has been really humbling.

To replace Holdsclaw the Slovaks got...Angel McCoughtry, who did extremely well under the same circumstances - even dunking in a game against a weaker Slovak club. McCoughtry and Candice Dupree took the Good Angels Kosice team deep into Euroleague. Holdsclaw ended up with K. V. Imperial in Cyprus - a good team and perennial Eurocup contender, but not exactly a top rank European team - the kind of team where average WNBA players might play. (**)

Holdsclaw returned to Atlanta at the end of the Cypriot season. One clue that things might have changed for Holdsclaw in Atlanta was that Jennifer Lacy was still unsigned by the Dream. Holdsclaw is a close friend of Lacy's and part of the draw in playing in Atlanta was that they'd be on the same team. Lacy would be entering the fourth year of her WNBA career and would be due a significant salary raise. If Atlanta signed Lacy, the Dream would be stuck with Lacy's dismal production under Meadors; if the Dream didn't they took the risk of losing Holdsclaw who might bolt. (***)

Before camp, the Dream declined to sign Lacy and Lacy became a free agent. Lacy ended up at the Washington Mystics camp, Chamique Holdsclaw's former stamping grounds. Holdsclaw was definitely in Atlanta - she was sighted at a shoe promotion - but there were no pictures of her in camp. There was no promotional material highlighting Holdsclaw in camp, but Holdsclaw and Lacy had made appearances for the Dream (for example, at Georgia Tech in an attempt to promote the club) in the early part of 2010.

With Thursday, May 13th - Media Day - looming ahead, with Friday being the day where all WNBA rosters are finalized and with Saturday being the first game of the 2010 WNBA regular season with the Dream traveling to San Antonio , something had to give. It gave yesterday evening. Someone posted on the Dream Facebook page that Holdsclaw might be leaving and the season-ticket holders revealed the contents of their e-mails.

(* * *)

The question now is what the Dream will do with Holdsclaw. They can trade Holdsclaw, but the question is "does any other team want Holdsclaw?" Holdsclaw's on-court production depends on her shaky health and Holdsclaw's salary requirements would be high - The Claw has been in the league since 1999. Meadors would probably take any trade she could get if there were no other options...past trades by Meadors of Dream players indicate that for particular unnamed players that have left Atlanta , Meadors would have taken two used basketballs (one patched) in trade.

Another option is that the Dream could flat-out release Holdsclaw. This leaves any other team free to pick her up. The downside is that the Dream gave up a first-round draft pick for one year of an underperforming Holdsclaw. A final option would be to suspend Holdsclaw for not showing up to camp, and I don't know how suspension affects a player.

The two big questions are:

1) Is the Dream good enough to make the playoffs this year even without Holdsclaw? My answer is "yes". Lyttle, de Souza and McCoughtry make the Dream a contender.

2) Who will take over Holdsclaw's role on the Dream? Holdsclaw brought two advantages to the Dream. She was personable, and she was a team leader.

What little I've seen of Angel McCoughtry suggests that McCoughtry could step into a team leader position even as a second year player. McCoughtry has the drive and the will to win; she simply has to avoid trying to do everything for the Dream. Can McCoughtry make her teammates better, the test of a true leader? If she can, then McCoughtry becomes the Field General. Everything from last year and Euroleague suggests that McCoughtry is The One.

Whether McCoughtry has the charisma of Holdsclaw is hard to say. McCoughtry has made appearances for the Dream on television, but does she want to get out there and mingle with the fans at minor functions and turn on the charm even when she doesn't want to? If McCoughtry wanted to be the Dream's ambassador, I believe she could do it - McCoughtry is the kind of person who could do almost anything she set her mind to through sheer determination.

Even though the Holdsclaw Era is over, the Dream lives on. It's just a rule of being a fan - your players don't stay with you forever. Definitely true for the Dream - the only players left from the 2008 squad are Erika de Souza and Iziane Castro Marques. With the Atlanta Dream, change is a fact of life, not a choice.


(*) - My Hall of Fame Metric has Holdsclaw as the xxth greatest of the modern era, with a 94 percent chance of going into a hypothetical WNBA Hall of Fame.

(**) - Although I hear that it's beautiful in Cyprus .

(***) - If you buy the "Meadors is master manipulator" theory, one could conclude that Meadors let Lacy go in the hopes that Holdsclaw would soon depart afterwards. If so, the master plan failed because Holdsclaw's late trade request leaves the Dream scrambling.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Facebook Rumors

A random comment by Monique Hall on Facebook:

Monique Hall OMG!!!!!!!!! What is really going on???????? Just got an email that Chamique wants to be traded. I am speechless.

You know, there's nothing to this other than a random post on Facebook. But since nothing has been seen of Holdsclaw in training camp, the Dream front office needs to address this before speculation runs wild. Speculation expands to fill the vacuum left by absent knowledge.

Current Atlanta Dream Preseason Roster

Here is my current understanding of the Atlanta Dream's training camp roster:

C Alison Bales
C Yelena Leuchanka (O)
F-C Erika de Souza (NG)
C Shawn Goff
C Britany Miller

F Demetress Adams (NG)
F Tatum Brown (P, NR)
F Chamique Holdsclaw (NG)
F Sancho Lyttle (NG)
F Angel McCoughtry
F Chanel Mokango

F-G Iziane Castro Marques
G-F Armintie Price
G Dalma Ivanyi (NG)
G Shalee Lehning
G Coco Miller
G Kelly Miler
G Brittainey Raven

Anyone whose name is not followed by something in parenthesis has actually appeared in one of the two preseason games

O - indicates that the player is most likely overseas
NG - the game has never been seen in a preseason game, and there is no evidence that they're in training camp
P - there is photographic evidence that the player is with the Dream
NR - the player is not listed on the Dream's roster on the Atlanta Dream web page

Ardossi, White Released from Training Camp

Training camp has claimed two more victims - this time Brigitte Ardossi and Erica White.

Ardossi was an alumna of Georgia Tech, where she was selected by the Atlanta Dream in the second round of the 2010 Atlanta Dream last month. It was going to be a difficult job for her to get a spot in camp, and two unimpressive exhibition games didn't help her case.

Erica White was signed to the Atlanta Dream's training camp in March 2010. White, a LSU graduate, was drafted in the second round by the Houston Comets in the 2008 WNBA Draft. She played the entire year for the Comets, but only played briefly the following year for the Indiana Fever after the Comets were disbanded at the end of the 2008 season.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Meadors is Holding

See the picture in the post below, and visit this link:

10 LC 94 2410
House Resolution 1594
By: Representatives Drenner of the 86th, Abrams of the 84th, Benfield of the 85th, and Henson of the 87th


Recognizing and commending Coach Marynell Meadors on being named the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year and inviting her to be recognized by the House of Representatives; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, Coach Marynell Meadors has long been recognized for her amazing ability to bring out the best performances from her players and her commitment to promoting the work of female athletes; and

WHEREAS, she has diligently and conscientiously devoted her time, talents, and energy for the past 35 years to challenging athletes as a coach and currently serves as general manager and head coach of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream; and

WHEREAS, Coach Meadors earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and began her prestigious coaching career at Tennessee Tech University as the first head coach of the women's basketball program; and

WHEREAS, she dedicated 20 years to the Golden Eagles, posting a school record winning percentage of .723, earning two Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year awards and a Metro Conference Coach of the Year award, and steering her team to four conference championships and two Metro Conference titles; and

WHEREAS, Coach Meadors also served as head coach at Florida State University, where she transformed the Seminoles into a winning program and led them to a Metro Conference Championship and the second round of the NCAA Tournament; and

WHEREAS, this year, Coach Meadors enters her second season with the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, her fourth with the WNBA family, and was recently honored as the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year; and

WHEREAS, during her tenure in the WNBA, Coach Meadors has inspired fans and players of the Atlanta Dream, the Charlotte Sting, the Miami Sol, and the Washington Mystics, helping lead the Stings and Mystics to playoff appearances; and

WHEREAS, in recognition of her contributions to the field of sports and her excellent basketball coaching abilities, it is abundantly fitting and proper for this body to honor the extraordinary commitment and accomplishments of this outstanding individual.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES that the members of this body commend Coach Marynell Meadors on her impressive coaching career, congratulate her on being honored as the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year, and invite her to be recognized by the House of Representatives at a date and time to be designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the House of Representatives is authorized and directed to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to Coach Marynell Meadors.

New Writeup on Dream-Mystics Preseason Game

Marynell Meadors receives a proclamation from the Tennessee House of Representatives. Pic by Thomas Corhern.

Thomas Corhern of the Cookeville Herald-Citizen wrote about the Dream-Mystics pre-season game held in Cookeville. Some choice quotes:

"Most of that took place because we didn't take care of the basketball," said Meadors, who coached at Tennessee Tech from 1970-86. "That really hurt us. We got set back on our heels and never really recovered from it. We fought back within eight or nine points. I didn't think our chemistry was good on the court. We just didn't seem to play with an edge and we've got to get that back."

Dream star Iziane Castro Marques, who led the team with 13 points, added, "It may not have been the result we wanted, but it was a good teaching point for us."


"Those aren't good games for them," Meadors said. "They're usually much better scorers than they were. Izzy just got here on Thursday. She practiced with us once then we came down here. When you have players coming into camp at various times, it's really hard to get good chemistry. We'll get them in next week and work on those things."

McCoughtry added, "Fortunately it's still the preseason, but we're still trying to find our chemistry. We'll be fine, but we've still got some work to do."

For the rest, read the article. (I'm posting the pictures on the blog as to not eat the bandwidth of the Herald-Citizen.) The paper called the game a "success". We also got this cryptic sentence:

With a depleted roster thanks to the European championships overseas, and former Tennessee standout Chamique Holdsclaw unavailable for the contest, the Dream (0-2) was lacking a bit of its oomph.

Why unavailable?

Other pictures:

Lehning vs. Kobryn
Lehning vs. Currie