Atlanta Dream – Season Turning into Nightmare

Fast start is history and the Atlanta Dream must now bounce back from six straight losses.

The Atlanta Dream’s season has taken a major turn for the worse over the last few weeks. Once 8-3 and looking well under-rated to win their conference, the Dream have regressed in a big way with six straight losses dating back to a 30-point June 18th defeat to Washington. Recently, Atlanta dropped a trio of games to teams from the opposing conference.

On Tuesday, the 28th of June, Atlanta were in Seattle looking for a win against one of the weaker teams out west. Although the game was close, the Dream gave up a three-point decision before heading south to Los Angeles to take on the Sparks. Tiffany Hayes then had a career-high 32 points in that game, however Atlanta still dropped a nine-point decision. Returning home on Sunday, Hayes had 26 against the Phoenix Mercury but Atlanta lost again – this time by 8.

In a 34-game season a six-game slide is a major slump that will be hard to offset. It has seen the Washington Mystics work their way up to 2nd place while the New York Liberty are now comfortable front-runners in the eastern conference standings:

  1. New York: 12-6
  2. Washington: 9-9
  3. Atlanta: 8-9
  4. Chicago: 7-9
  5. Indiana Fever: 7-10
  6. Connecticut Sun: 4-13

One problem with the Dream of late is that they have been ineffective in containing other teams’ key players. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury is a case in point. Her seasonal averages for points, rebounds, and blocked shots are 14.4, 7.3, and 3.4 respectively. However, she had a triple-double against the Dream with 27 points, 10 boards, and 10 blocked shots. Note that Griner basically doubled her scoring average and tripled her blocks in the game when compared to her season-long averages.

Against Los Angeles, Nneka Ogwumike of the Sparks had a double-double for points and rebounds. She scored 38 and had 11 boards en route to her side’s victory. On the season she averages 15.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds, so the scoring was really off the charts by her standards. In the earlier game against Seattle, rookie Breanna Stewart scored 38 points – a full 20 points above her average for scoring. Shutting down a key player is far easier said than done. However, Atlanta’s defense looks like it is getting picked apart.

The good news for the Dream is that they can end their nightmarish skid with games coming up against Seattle, Dallas, and Connecticut. Despite Seattle’s recent win, those are all teams with losing records. At least two out of three has to be the goal this week – anything less and Chicago and Indiana are going to be eyeing third spot in the eastern conference of the women’s association.



Shane Lambert