Game Preview: Atlanta vs. Seattle
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Game Notes: Atlanta I Seattle
Atlanta and Seattle meet for the first time this season when the Storm visits Philips Arena Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be just Atlanta’s second this season against a Western Conference opponent, and the first since a 98-81 victory over Tulsa in the season opener.
Seattle (1-2) will be playing its first game since a 67-58 loss to Tulsa last Friday, and its first road game since a 102-69 loss at Los Angeles in the Storms’ season opener. The Storm, playing this season without stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, has four players averaging in double figures, led by guard Tanisha Wright (12.0). Guard Tamika Johnson and forward Tina Thompson both average 11.0 points per game, while center Camille Little scored 10.7 points per contest. This season is the 17th and final season for Thompson, a legendary figure in the WNBA who was the No. 1 pick of the inaugural WNBA Draft and a two-time gold medalist.
Atlanta (4-1) had its four-game winning streak snapped last time out, falling at New York, 76-67, but the Dream is 2-0 this season in home games. Angel McCoughtry continues to lead the team in scoring (18.0) and assists (5.2) and leads the league in steals (3.4). But the team will be without Sancho Lyttle, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, who will miss the first of six games due to a commitment to playing for the Spanish National Team at EuroBasket Women 2013. Tiffany Hayes (10.8 ppg) may see an increased role during Lyttle’s absence.
Atlanta and Seattle have split their 10 all-time regular-season games, although the Dream has won the last four, all by double digits. Atlanta is 3-2 vs. Seattle in Philips Arena. The two teams also met in the 2010 WNBA Finals, with Seattle sweeping the series, 3-0, although the three games were decided by a total of just eight points.
In the last meeting, the Dream claimed a 77-61 victory at home against Seattle on Sept. 11, 2012. Angel McCoughtry scored 23 points, Erika DeSouza had 20 and the Dream pulled away late for its fifth win in six games. Lauren Jackson had 14 points and Camille Little 13 to lead the Storm. Seattle had trailed throughout but pulled to within 55-54 on a 3-pointer by Sue Bird early in the fourth quarter. However, Atlanta went on a 13-0 run to regain control and finished with a 22-7 spurt. Atlanta had 20 assists on 29 baskets and scored 21 points on the fast break. Sancho Lyttle added 13 points and Price had 10 for the Dream.
• Atlanta’s 4-1 start is the second best start through five games in club history.
• The Dream leads the league in scoring defense this season, allowing just 70.6 points per game.
• Atlanta also leads the league in steals (13.4) and turnovers forced (18.6). The Dream averages a full three steals per game more than the second-best team (Indiana).
• Atlanta has outrebounded four of its five opponents this season.
• The Dream had a good first quarter in all four of its wins, outscoring its opponent all four times. But the Dream was outscored in the opening period Sunday at New York and lost for the first time.
• Seattle’s Tanisha Wright needs just nine more points to reach 2,000 for her career