Well the tough week labors on as the Atlanta Dream gave the Tulsa Shock their first road win of the season during the Tuesday, August 28th game at Phillip's Arena in Atlanta. Talk about being kicked when down, this loss highlights a week that has included the dismissal of Atlanta's first ever head coach/general manager, Marynell Meadors, and the indefinite suspension of superstar Angel McCoughtry. The Dream still remains in third place at 12-13 in position to make their fourth straight playoff appearance; however, while McCoughtry's future with Atlanta remains cloudy nothing will be a given for the rest of the year.
The Dream found that out Tuesday night, although they began the game seemingly unbothered by the events that transpired. The Dream opened the night with a blistering transition game that lead to plenty of aggressive full court drives to the hole. The Dream outscored the Shock in the paint 40-22.
Player of the week Sancho Lyttle began the assault with a mixture of tough drives and a couple of three-point shots. She continues to be the catalyst for this team as she was a rebound away from a double-double with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Erika de Souza also had a good performance. Before getting into foul trouble in the second half, Souza was all over the boards taking in feeds from half-court and promptly depositing them into the basket. Like Lyttle, she was a rebound away from a double-double with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Her performance tonight was a silver lining for the Dream as she turns in her first solid all-around performance on the season and looks poised to lead the Dream to whatever ending is in store.
The Shock came out of the second half down 51-44. Aside from some good three-point shooting, nothing seemed to be going their way. The paint on their end may as well have had a welcome mat neatly placed underneath the basket as the Dream had no problem waltzing through at will. With a momentum shift not in sight, the Shock looked like they were in trouble, but then the third quarter began.
The Shock began the long turnaround with a shift from man-to-man to a tough zone defense. The full court pressure from the Dream came to a halt as they were forced to take wild three-point attempts (6-26), commit plenty of turnovers (18) and get their star players in foul trouble by the beginning of the fourth quarter (Souza 5, Lyttle 5). Without McCoughtry to draw double teams, the Shock stood stationary underneath the hoop limiting the Dream to 11 third quarter points.
The third quarter ended with a frustrated Lyttle and newly appointed head coach Fred Williams yelling at the referees for a Lyttle foul on Glory Johnson barely escaping a technical. The Dream were visibly showing their disunity as the Shock began the fourth quarter with a 67-62 lead and wouldn't look back winning 84-80.
While the dust still settles from the fallout of this week, the Dream are going to have put things together quick in order to make the playoffs. Tuesday's night game showed that nothing will be given to the Dream as they'll have to work extra hard for victories to keep their season going into October--especially if McCoughtry's season is done, which remains to be seen.
As a resident of the southeast, Charles McGregor has been a fan of the Dream since their inception.