Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Dream forward Erika de Souza (14) goes up for a shot while being defended by Connecticut Sun center Tina Charles (31) during the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Dream opens up the 2013 WNBA season at home (in Philips Arena) tomorrow at 7 p.m. versus the Tulsa Shock. While the Dream suffered through a tumultuous season last year, struggling with a coaching change and the injuries and disciplinary issues of their All-Star, Angel McCoughtry, they still managed to finish third in the Eastern conference with a 19-15 record.
The Dream returns four out of five starters, including McCoughtry at guard/forward and forwards Ericka de Souza and Sancho Lyttle. The key to the Dream’s success this season is two-fold:
- Will McCoughtry become a steady leader and stay healthy for the entire season? She did lead the league in scoring with 21.4 points per game, but without her consistent presence on the court, the Dream struggled.
- The team lost starting point guard Lindsey Harding to the Los Angeles Sparks, leaving fans to wonder who will be the squad’s playmaker this year. The Dream will be looking to see if Duke alum Jasmine Johnson can step up and fill the floor general hole that Harding left. Without a controlled point guard, the Dream will have difficulty getting the ball inside to their strong frontline.
While the Tulsa Shock finished 9-25 last year, they are not a team that the Dream can take lightly. They are undoubtedly the WNBA’s most improved team this preseason. However, if McCoughtry plays a steady, level-headed game, and Johnson takes care of the ball and effectively executes the Dream’s offense, they should start off the season 1-0.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the Dream throughout the season in this space!