With the East's top seed now in hand, the Atlanta Dream will close out the home portion of their regular season schedule Friday night when they host former coach Fred Williams and the Tulsa Shock.
Atlanta clinched the top seed in the East with a 96-82 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday. The win couldn't have come at a better time giving the Dream's struggles of late. Atlanta has lost nine of 12 and Wednesday's win snapped a season-high five-game losing streak.
Angel McCoughtry missed the last two games with tendinitis in her feet and her status for Friday's game is unknown. By clinching, it affords Michael Cooper and his staff the ability to make sure that players are well rested going into the playoffs. Cooper told reporters after the win over the Mercury that McCoughtry was day-to-day but he expected to play in at least one of the final two games. Given the recent struggles, it sounded like it was important to Cooper for the Dream to build some momentum heading into the playoffs. With that in mind it will be interesting to see if any players sit out or have their minutes cut in either of the final two games.
Friday's game also marks the return of former head coach and long time assistant Fred Williams to Philips Arena for the first time as head coach of the Tulsa Shock. Tulsa is 12-20 on the season and has been eliminated from playoff contention but there were some bright spots along the way for Williams and his young squad.
Skylar Diggins has blossomed in her second season after a disappointing rookie campaign. She is currently second in the WNBA in scoring at 20.3 per game. Rookie Odyssey Sims probably won't win Rookie of the Year but she is certainly in the discussion.
Atlanta wraps up the regular season slate on Sunday in Connecticut. The Dream will open the 2014 WNBA Playoffs at home on either Thursday, August 21 or Friday, August 22.
Game Date/Time: Friday, August 15, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Streaming: WNBA Live Access