Lindsey Harding is one of the key members to the Atlanta Dream's second half run at the WNBA Playoffs Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
As the WNBA season starts their playoff stretch, the Atlanta Dream are in familar territories such as the 2011 campaign. Heading into this week,
Friday August 24th: Atlanta Dream defeats the Washington Mystics 81-69
In their second straight game without the services of Angel Mccoughtry, the Dream was able to earn a huge road victory over the Mystics heading into the Minnesota match-up. Armintie Price paced five double-figure scorers with 19 points and the Dream climbed above .500 for the first time this season with an 81-69 victory on Friday night. Tiffany Hayes and Lindsey Harding also added (16) points. The Dream dominated the game from the start by opening up a double-digit first quarter lead and they never looked back. Atlanta would also shoot over (56%) in the first half and also force the Mystics to commit (19) turnovers in the game which would result in (25) points on offense for the team. The Dream also scored a whopping (40) points in the paint during that game and they cruised to a 30-point lead at one point in the game. Atlanta led by 13 points after the first quarter and held its largest lead at 68-40 with 1:40 left in the third quarter on Kraayeveld's 3-pointer. In the fourth quarter, Mystics player Matee Ajavon would answer with four three pointers to trim the Dream's lead to as little as nine points in the final minute; however, it was too late for Washington. The Dream won back to back games for the first time in two months and was looking to earn another victory at home.
Saturday August 25th: Minnesota Lynx defeats the Atlanta Dream 84-74
In a national TV contest, the Atlanta Dream and Minnesota Lynx were battling for the first time since the Dream were swept by the Lynx in last year's WNBA Finals.Olympic Gold Medalist and Finals MVP Simone Augustus scored (23) points, Rebekkah Brunson added 21 and the Minnesota Lynx won their sixth straight game with an 84-74 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday night. Angel Mccoughtry, who is still the WNBA's leading scorer averaging (22.7) points per game, only scored (14) and didn't start the game either due to personal reasons. The Dream and Lynx had a very competitive first quarter and the Dream even held a nine point lead early and surrendered it back to Minnesota and held a lead and after the first period, the Lynx pulled it together and would take a 43-42 lead into halftime. The Dream competed as tough as they possibly could but lead by Simone Augustus, Minnesota took a 63-54 lead near the end of the 3rd quarter and Atlanta couldn't keep their intensity up and would eventually lose. Sancho Lyttle lead the team with (14) points and rookie Tiffany Hayes added (12) points of her own. The Dream's morale could have hurt them as well after playing back to back games and five over the last eight days. Atlanta would drop to 12-12 on the season and the Minnesota Lynx continued to hold the WNBA's best record at (19-4) and improved to 8-3 on the road this year.
After a tough weekend match-up with Minnesota, the Atlanta Dream will continue their home-stand this week against the WNBA's worst two teams, the Tulsa Shock (Tuesday, August 28th) and the Washington Mystics (Thursday, August 30th) and their week will conclude with a crucial Eastern Conference match-up with the top- seeded Connecticut Sun (Sunday, September 2nd). The Dream have a favorable schedule as they continue their five-game home stand and this is the perfect opportunity for Atlanta to gain ground and potentially earn one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference. Led by Angel Mccoughtry and Lindsey Harding, Atlanta is due for another big second half and another great run in the WNBA Playoffs. The Dream will play the Tulsa Shock tomorrow night at 7:00 PM on Sportsouth. For more information on the Atlanta Dream, Follow the @AtlantaDream official page on Twitter as well as @PeachtreeHoops and @ATLSportsNate for all of your team news. Until next game, LET'S GO DREAM!!!!