Game Preview: Dream vs. Shock (05/23/08)

Atlanta vs. Detroit
Time: Friday, May 23 at 7:30 PM
Location: Philips Arena
TV: CSS Radio: 1230/1340 AM

The Atlanta Dream take the floor at Philips Arena for their home opener against the defending Eastern Conference Champions, the Detroit Shock in the Dream’s first ever regular season home game. The game is officially sold out, with over 10,000 tickets sold.

The Dream are coming off a tough opening loss to the Connecticut Sun, 100-67. Against Connecticut, the Dream were led by their two veterans, guard Betty Lennox and forward Stacey Lovelace. Lennox led the Dream with 17 points and 7 rebounds against the Sun while Lovelace added 11 points, five assists and four rebounds.

The Shock are looking to continue their recent success under Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, having made back-to-back appearances in the WNBA Finals the previous two seasons, including a 2006 championship. The Shock are off to a 2-1 start in the 2008 season. On Wednesday, Detroit defeated the Indiana Fever 76-71 behind Kara Braxton’s 22 points. Center Plenette Pierson has been huge off the bench for the Shock, averaging 17.3 points per game. Guard Katie Smith and forward Kara Braxton are also averaging double digits for the Shock.

The game between the Dream and Shock will provide some interesting matchups. The game features two of the league’s most explosive guards in Detroit’s Deanna Nolan and the Dream’s Betty Lennox. Both players are capable of putting up points quickly. The Dream will also have to keep Detroit Shock forward Cheryl Ford off the boards. Ford is one of the league’s top rebounders, averaging 10 boards per game.

The game has special significance for a number of players on both rosters. Dream guard Ivory Latta and center Katie Feenstra were acquired from Detroit during the 2008 WNBA Expansion Draft and are eager to match up against their former teammates. Another familiar face to fans will be Shock forward Tasha Humphrey, a former University of Georgia standout looking to make an impact in her rookie season in the WNBA. Humphrey is joined by two more former Lady Bulldogs on the Shock roster—forward Kara Braxton and guard Deanna Nolan.