Monday, July 28, 2014
Monday Cardinal Couple -- Can sputtering Dream finish atop WNBA East?
MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Losers of last four...is the Dream fading?
For the first 20 games of the WNBA season, the Atlanta Dream arguably looked to be the best team in the WNBA.
After Sunday's loss to Washington (Atlanta's fourth loss in a row) they now resemble one of the worst in the pro basketball conference...only Seattle has lost more in a row.
Atlanta still has a three game lead in the East with ten games to go and they are the only team in the East over .500 at 15-9. The recent trend is disturbing, though.
After a breakout performance in the WNBA All-Star Game, it's back to normal for Shoni Schimmel...17 minutes a game, no double figure performances and sharing guard duties with Dumeric and Thomas.
Heading into the playoffs around the .500 mark is nothing new for Atlanta...they have been only a few games over a losing record the last couple of years that they made it into the WNBA Playoff and to the finals.
In 2009, Angel's first season, Atlanta went 18-16. They finished 2nd in the East but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
2010 produced a 19-15 record but a 4th place finish in the East. Atlanta caught on fire in the playoffs and went to the WNBA finals...losing to Seattle.
2011 brought a 20-14 regular season total and a 3rd place East finish. It also produced their second straight trip to the finals...losing to Minnesota.
2012 was quite similar...19-15 and another 3rd place East finish. Indiana knocked the Dream out of the WNBA Playoffs in the semifinals
Last year, Atlanta struggled to a 17-17 mark in regular season play...good for 2nd in the East...but caught fire in the playoffs....getting to the finals and losing to the Lynx.
Here's the remainder of the schedule:
TUES 7/29 VS CONNECTICUT
THURS 7/31 @ TULSA
SUN 8/3 VS NEW YORK
TUES 8/5 @ PHOENIX
THURS 8/7 @ SEATTLE
FRI 8/8 @ LA
SUN 8/10 @ CHICAGO
WEDS 8/13 VS PHOENIX
FRI 8/15 VS TULSA
SUN 8/17 @ CONNECTICUT
The road trip in August with four games in six days looks particularly challenging...the Dream covering a staggering 7,127 miles in 144 hours.
Flights, hotel beds, road meals...all can play a continuing role in a team's well-being and success. Let's hope the huge Shoni fanbase that Atlanta will have greet them in opponents' arenas can counter-effect the fatigue of travel.
And...maybe a few more minutes for #23 wouldn't hurt either...