MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Shalee Lehning of Atlanta Dream runs with the ball during the WNBA Live Manchester 2011 match between Atlanta Dream and Great Britain at Manchester Evening News Arena on May 29, 2011 in Manchester, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Programming note. Peachtree Hoops will be providing a weekly recap of the Atlanta Dream every Monday. SB Nation Atlanta with be providing full game by game coverage and Swish Appeal will cover not only the Dream but the entire WNBA.
Game 1 - Sunday June 5
New York Liberty 94, Atlanta Dream 88 OT
The Atlanta Dream dropped their season opener to the New York Liberty 94-88 in a thrilling overtime game to kick off their 2011 season at Philips Arena. Atlanta was without All-Star guard Angel McCoughtry in the opener as she is still sidelined with an injured left knee that she hurt in practice a few weeks ago. Without her, coach Marynell Meadors was missing her most potent offensive weapon and one of her essential back line defenders.
The game was close throughout, the Dream trailed 20-19 after one and 40-38 at the half. A furious sequence of events set up the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. With under a minute left, it looked like the Dream were going to be able to pull the game out. Sancho Lyttle made two free throws to give Atlanta a 76-74 lead with 33 seconds remaining in the game. Lyttle then came up with a steal at the other end and quickly flipped the ball to Lindsey Harding New York immediately fouled to stop the clock with 18.9 seconds remaining.
Harding made only one of two at the line pushing Atlanta's lead to 77-74. On its next possession, New York's NIcole Powell hit an off balance three pointer to tie the game with 8.8 seconds on the clock. Atlanta called time to set up what they hoped would be the final play of regulation. The Dream inbounded the ball to Lindsey Harding who hit a spinning jumper in the lane putting Atlanta up 79-77 with just 3.2 seconds remaining.
After a Liberty time out, New York's Sidney Spencer took a deflected pass and found her self wide open for a jump shot that she nailed with just 0.2 left on the clock tying the game at 79-79. Atlanta failed to get a shot off on the final possession and the game headed to overtime where New York outscored the Dream 15-9.
After the game, coach Meadors talked about that overtime and pointed to some poor defensive rotations as part of the reason for New York's offensive outburst in the extra session. Atlanta was trying to trap Cappie Pondexter but the back side rotation was slow and the Liberty found themselves with some open looks as a result. New York's
Plenette Pierson scored a game high 25 points and had 10 rebounds for the Liberty. Nicole Powell had 17 including the back breaking three pointer that tied the game late in the fourth. Cappie Pondexter was held to 12 points on 5-15 shooting but handed out a game high 11 assists in the process.
Iziane Castro Marques led the Dream with 19 points on 6-16 shooting. Sancho Lyttle recorded a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Coco Miller got the start in McCoughtry's absence and netted 16 points. Armintie Price came off the bench to score 13 points for Atlanta. Lindsey Harding scored nine points and had nine assists in her Philips Arena debut.
Thursday, June 9 Vs. Washington - ESPN2
Saturday, June 11 @ San Antonio