Tonight, the Atlanta Dream will play in their first home game at Philips Arena since losing the WNBA Finals last season against the Minnesota Lynx and will also unveil their 2011 Eastern Conference Championship banner before the game begins. Atlanta is coming off a tough season opening loss to the Indiana Fever 92-84 in a game where the Fever was 12-21 from behind the arc and defending the long ball was one of the biggest issues Atlanta encountered throughout the 2011 season. Their opponent, the New York Liberty will be their first opponent at home for the second straight season led by All-Star guard Cappie Poindexter. New York have struggled to open the season as they have lost all three of their games heading into tonight's match-up and they will be looking to earn their first victory of the year. The Dream lost both games against this team last year early in the season and this season, they will like to turn things around in front of their home crowd tonight. Now, I will give the keys to beating the New York Liberty tonight.
KEYS TO VICTORY OVER THE LIBERTY:
1. Defend and Prevent The 3-Point Shot:
In their season opening loss against the Fever, Atlanta gave up a staggering 57.1% from behind the line and that was one major disadvantage that cost the Dream to lose many games last season. Tonight, Atlanta can't allow that to happen because the Liberty have a few consistent three pointer shooting threats such as Cappie Poindexter, Nicole Powell, Leilani Mitchell who were key reasons why New York defeated Atlanta in both home games last season. New York is not one of the best three point shooting teams in the WNBA but against the Dream, this team have encountered some success with the long range jumpers. Tonight, the Dream must contain this from becoming a major advantage for their opponents or that could result in a loss.
2. Force the Liberty's offense to collapse and create turnovers:
Early in the season, New York have struggled to consistently hold on to the ball and this is a huge advantage for the Dream tonight because of the athleticism they display on defense. Angel Mccoughtry, Armintie Price, and Lindsey Harding will need to pressure the Liberty guards to lose the ball and allow Atlanta to get in quick transition baskets. Against Minnesota on Tuesday, the Liberty allowed (12) fast break points off (6) costly turnovers and that can be a major benefit for Atlanta tonight. Atlanta's defense was the best in the league in forcing steals and second with blocks per game and they must prevent New York's offense from having any impact on the game.
3. Angel Mccoughtry must continue her dominance against the Liberty:
Over the past few match-ups, Mccoughtry have produced major numbers whenever she faced New York . She averages around 25 points per game and Atlanta usually wins when they can get a big effort from their star player so she needs to have a big night in order to lift Atlanta to a victory.
I will have a recap of tonight's game against the New York Liberty tomorrow morning reviewing the pros and cons about the game. Good luck to the Atlanta Dream tonight. LET'S GO DREAM!!!
Station- Sports South