Tough Loss to the Lynx
The Atlanta Dream dropped a heartbreaker to the Minnesota Lynx 86-84 on Friday night. Tiffany Hayes tied the game at 84 with just 5.2 seconds left, but Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier was fouled while driving to the basket and made both free throws to put Minnesota up 86-84 with almost nothing left on the clock.
Courtney Williams tried a last-second heave at the basket, but couldn’t drain the desperation three. Hayes led Atlanta in scoring with 23 points on 8-17 shooting from the field; Williams added 15 points. While the hard-fought loss might be a bitter pill to swallow, there have been some encouraging signs for the Dream of late.
Bench Scoring Continues to Thrive
Over the past couple of games, the Dream’s bench scoring has been impressive. Against the Lynx, the reserves combined for 30 points off the bench. Aari McDonald led the way with 15, and she hit four three-pointers in 23 minutes. McDonald has been forced to step up with the injury to Chennedy Carter. The rookie has been playing well in extended minutes.
Crystal Bradford has been a nice addition for Atlanta as well, adding 12 points on four three-point shots in the Minnesota game. Monique Billings added 2 points but did have five rebounds, and Cheyenne Parker, in her first game at Atlanta, had one point in 14 minutes. The Dream will need to continue to have this type of solid bench scoring to keep them in the mix in the long run.
Rebounding is Improving
After starting the season getting severely outrebounded in almost every contest, the Dream has finally begun to close the gap. In the game against the Lynx, Atlanta outrebounded Minnesota 32-31. Williams led the way with ten rebounds; she has been rebounding well all year, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game, which is outstanding for a guard. Hayes added eight rebounds of her own. Any hope of making noise in the playoffs for the Dream will require them to keep up their recent momentum on the glass.
Atlanta will take on Minnesota again on Sunday before heading home to take on the defending champion Seattle Storm in back-to-back games. It should be an interesting set of contests that will give us a much better idea of how realistic Atlanta’s playoff (ahem) dreams are…
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