Dream vs. Sparks Game Preview

by David Cohen, Atlanta Dream Communications Intern

The Atlanta Dream’s 2012 season has been full of ups and downs.

In Atlanta’s home opener May 25, the Dream dismantled the New York Liberty during a 100-74 victory.

Just over a week later on June 2, the Dream let go of a 22-point first half lead to fall 94-92 in overtime to the Chicago Sky.

Now, four weeks into the 2012 season, the Dream (3-5) face an opponent Friday in the Los Angeles Sparks (6-1) who have had little problems with consistency this season.

The Sparks, winners of their last four games entering a Wednesday night contest at Connecticut, have only one loss on the young season and unlike the Dream, they have been relatively steady. Three players on the Sparks are averaging over 14 points per game this season in Kristi Toliver (19.6), Candace Parker (18.7) and Nneka Ogwumike (14.9). For Atlanta, only Angel McCoughtry (21.6) is averaging more than 14.

When the Dream take on the Sparks at Phillips Arena on Friday they will be striving for consistent play all around. The Dream’s defense, shooting, rebounding and bench play have all had their moments but not on an ongoing basis. This game will be a test for the Dream, whose slow start can be attributed in part to lack of all around consistency.

“We have had good first quarters and really good second quarters and the same can be said about our third and fourth quarters,” said Dream head coach Marynell Meadors. “When we are trying to put our defensive scheme together we’ve got to be more consistent. We’re allowing people to take open shots and we should never do that.”

The trio of the All-Star Parker, fourth-year guard Toliver and 2012 No. 1 overall draft pick Ogwumike, who combine to average 53.2 points and 19.4 rebounds per game, makes the Sparks one of the most versatile and dangerous teams in the WNBA.

In last season’s series, however, Atlanta swept the Sparks 2-0 winning once at home and once in Los Angeles. The Sparks haven’t beaten the Dream since 2009, dropping five straight in the series, and are looking to get back in the win column against a tough Atlanta team.

On Friday, the Sparks signed former Dream guard Coco Miller to replace Sharnee Zoll who had suffered a torn ACL. Miller was cut from the Dream May 16 and had yet to find another WNBA team until she was picked up by Los Angeles last week.

The Dream and Sparks tip off at 7:30 pm at Philips Arena this Friday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South and SportSouth.