ATLANTA DREAM: FIRST HALF RECAP
- By David Cohen -

ATLANTA, July 3, 2012 —Famed British politician Harold Wilson once said, “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.”

Although the Atlanta Dream made back to back WNBA Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011 the team has thoroughly accepted change in 2012.

In a year when the London Summer Olympics cut the WNBA season into two halves, Atlanta has adapted to some tough situations.

Starting with the retirements of key bench players Alison Bales and Shalee Lehning before the season, the Dream has made a host of changes on the court in 2012.

Atlanta drafted Tiffany Hayes 14th overall in the WNBA draft and signed rookie Aneika Henry in February. The two have since become huge contributors on the court averaging a combined 10.8 points per game. The Dream also signed 3-point specialists Laurie Koehn and Cathrine Kraayeveld to bolster it’s 2011 league worst 26% percent average from long range. This season the Dream is averaging 34%.

Longtime Dream center Erika de Souza has been out of WNBA action the entire first half of the season while practicing with the Brazilian national women’s basketball team. In her absence the Dream re-signed center Yelena Leuchanka who played for the Dream in 2010.

In addition to de Souza, who will be playing for Brazil in the Olympics, the Dream is also sending head coach Marynell Meadors and WNBA league leading scorer Angel McCoughtry to London to compete for the United States.

Still, amid a tumultuous 2012 season, the Dream has high hopes of returning to the WNBA Finals for the third straight year.

The Dream is 7-8 through 15 games this season, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Winners of three of its last four, Atlanta has shaken off the inconsistency it was plagued with earlier in the season. Now, with steady play from key rookies Hayes and Henry and improved defense all around the Dream look to be ready for another postseason run.

This season the Dream has seen stellar play from seven year WNBA veteran Sancho Lyttle. The forward is averaging 13.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game to go along with a league second best 2.47 steals per game. Along with Lyttle, Angel McCoughtry leads the WNBA in scoring (22.6 points per game) and steals (3.15 per game).

Atlanta guard Lindsey Harding has also had a solid first half averaging over 11 points and 3.8 assists per game in 13 starts while teammate Armintie Price has five double digit scoring efforts while starting all 15 games.

Following the Olympic break in August Atlanta is set to get a big boost with the return of de Souza and her career 6.6 rebounds per game, an area in which the Dream has already been strong. Atlanta is second in the league in rebounding averaging over 36 boards per game.

With the stage set for a great second half to the 2012 season Atlanta has four more games to go before the month long Olympic break. Come Aug. 17, when the Dream plays its first game in over a month at Chicago, it should be ready to change and adapt to anything that comes its way.