Atlanta Dream Win Game Two, WNBA Semifinals Tied 1-1

Atlanta Dream Alex Bentley (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Dream Alex Bentley (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Dream experienced some tense moments Tuesday night, as they were staring an 0-2 deficit in the face. The team rallied from ten points down, to tie the WNBA semifinals.

The Atlanta Dream secured a season saving victory Tuesday night, defeating the Washington Mystics 78-75 at McCamish Pavillion, here in Atlanta. Jessica Breland anchored the Atlanta Dream’s “nightmare defense”, with an astounding 7 blocked shots! That tied a WNBA record for most blocks in a playoffs game.

Despite the Atlanta Dream leading for most of the first half, the Washington Mystics rallied to take a four point lead. Washington led by two points at halftime. They were carried by their All WNBA First Team star forward, Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne scored 27 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and handed out six assists, to lead her team in all three categories. This followed up her game one gem, of 32 points and 13 rebounds.

Unfortunately for Elena Delle Donne, things changed for her and her team, with three minutes and ten seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. She grabbed a rebound, pushed the ball up the court, drove right, and attempted to stop suddenly. That action caused her knee to extend in the opposite direction. Delle Donne did not return to the game after injuring her knee. She was three points away, from becoming the first woman in WNBA history, to have back to back 30 and 10 games in the post season.

Early reports are that she has a hyper extended left knee, but an MRI will be done to determine the severity of the injury. Should she be unavailable to play moving forward, that would be a devastating blow to the Washington Mystics. Such an unfortunate occurrence, would certainly swing the momentum back to the Atlanta Dream. Atlanta is missing their star Angel McCoughtry, to a knee injury as well.’s Kaelen Jones wrote about the Delle Donne injury here.

After being down as much as ten points in the third quarter, the Atlanta Dream tied the game heading into the fourth quarter. The teams exchanged baskets back and forth in the final quarter, as no team led by more than three. Atlanta survived two controversial foul calls down the stretch. One on what seemed to be a clean steal by Alex Bentley, and another on a play in which Tiffany Hayes was called for a foul, when a Mystics player seem to fall unimpeded.

Alex Bentley and Tiffany Hayes both made just one of two free throws down the stretch when there were fouled, giving the Mystics an opening to send the game into overtime. However Mystics guard Kristy Tolliver, barely missed the game tying three-point attempt. Offensively the Atlanta Dream were led by Alex Bentley. She scored a career playoff high 22 points off the bench, to lead the Dream. She also had a key steal late in the fourth quarter. I mentioned Bentley being a key to replacing Angel McCoughtry’s production in this article.

All WNBA First Team guard Tiffany Hayes, matched her game one total of 17 points, but was much more efficient this game. She made five of nine field goal attempts, shooting 56%. She only made 6 of 15 shot attempts in game one. Hayes played a much better all around game in game two. Tiffany yanked down seven boards, and dished out six assists in the contest.

Jessica Breland and Elizabeth Williams both notched double, doubles in the game. Both women scores ten points each. Breland grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the team. Williams added 11 boards.

The Atlanta Dream held Washington to 40 percent shooting, and only 30 percent from three. They crushed the Mystics on the boards 44 to 26, holding and 11-5 advantage on the offensive glass. The Mystics took advantage of 17 turnovers by the Dream to stay in the game.

These two teams are as evenly matched as it can get. The score is 162-162 after two games. One area of concern for the Atlanta Dream, is Renee Montgomery’s struggles. The league’s second most prolific three-point shooter, in terms of makes, is shooting only 3-11 from downtown. Montgomery is shooting just 5-18 from the field overall. Look for AP and WNBA Coach of the Year Nikki Collen, to dial-up some plays to free up Renee early in game three.

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Regardless of rather Elena Delle Donne plays or not, the Atlanta Dream are in good position to still win this series. Alex Bentley’s excellent play, along with Tiffany Hayes and the front court of Breland and Williams will ultimately be too much for Washington to overcome. I stand by my original prediction. The Atlanta Dream will win this series in five games.

The accolades continue to pour in for the Atlanta Dream as General Manager Chris Sienko was named WNBA Executive of the Year. Nikki Collen also received her second Coach of the Year award this week. Continue to check with ATL All Day for the latest on the Dream’s playoff run, and all of the Atlanta Sports teams you love. Please download the FanSided app and favorite All Atlanta Sports. We always appreciate your support.