Game Preview: Dream @ Mercury (07/19/08)

Atlanta @ Phoenix
Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 10 PM(EST)
US Airways Center
Radio: 1230/1340 AM

The Dream wrap a two-week road trip as they travel to Phoenix to take on the defending 2007 WNBA Champions. Tip-off is scheduled for 10pm(EST) at US Airways Center. This is the second and final matchup between the two teams.

Tonight’s game will wrap up a six-game road swing for the Dream. Atlanta has started the second half of the season strong with a couple of wins. Center Alison Bales, acquired by the Dream from the Indiana Fever in exchange for Kristen Mann, has been a huge presence inside for the Dream and has helped the team’s rebounding woes. Multiple players have stepped up for the Dream in the second half of the season, most notably Izi Castro Marques and Kristin Haynie.

Atlanta (3-20) is coming off a 77-73 loss last night against the Sacramento Monarchs(11-11). After being down by as many as 19, the dream fought back to cut the Monarchs lead to 71-70 with 1:32 remaining in the contest. Kristin Haynie scored a season-high 12 point and dished out 4 assists for the Dream, which outscored Sacramento 32-20 in the fourth quarter. Betty Lennox and Ivory Latta each had 11.

The Dream will have to ultimately slow down a high-powered scoring Phoenix team that loves to run the floor and is always one of the top-scoring teams in the league. An abundance of that scoring comes from Phoenix guards Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, whom rank among the league leaders in scoring. The Mercury (10-12) are coming off a 99-92 win against the Los Angeles Sparks (13-9) on Thursday night. Cappie Poindexter scored 27 points and Diana Taurasi added 23, to snap a three-game Mercury losing streak.

The Mercury won the first matchup with the Dream, 97-79, on July 1 in Atlanta. Phoenix outscored Atlanta 44-24 in the paint and 24-1 on fast break points while cruising to the win. Diana Taurasi recorded 28 points, two rebounds, six assists and two steals to lead the Mercury. Betty Lennox led the Dream with 18 points and Jennifer Lacy added 16 for the Dream which had yet to win a game at that point in the season.

After Saturday’s matchup with Phoenix, the Dream finally return home to Philips Arena. They will host three consecutive home games—July 22 vs. Sacramento, July 25 vs. Washington, and July 27 vs. New York.