Sweet Dreams Are Made of...

Angel McCoughtry is a significant part of Atlanta's run-and-gun style
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Annie Lennox never truly defined “this” when she sang “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” as a member of the Eurythmics back in the 1980s. All a listener can determine based on the vague lyrics being sung over synthesizers and digital beats is that the dreams are made of “this,” she isn’t going to “disagree” and people “travel the world and the seven seas” in search of “something.”

Clearly it's open to interpretation, but if anyone is looking to truly define what sweet dreams are made of then it’s Angel McCoughtry, head coach Marynell Meadors and the rest of the Atlanta Dream.

The Dream knows a championship at the end of the 2010 season is what sweet dreams are made of. Never before in the short history of the franchise has Atlanta started a season off 2-0. In turn, Atlanta also hasn’t started 3-0. Or - you guessed it - 4-0.

Sweet dreams are made of offense…

The Atlanta Dream runs a high-tempo, run-and-gun style that leaves teams with two options: 1) run with us and try to keep up or 2) get left in the dust. So far in four consecutive outings, teams have done their best to keep up with the Dream but have yet to close out the game on the winning end.

Who am I to disagree…

“We don’t care who scores. We don’t care who rebounds. We just want to get the ball and we want to defend and we want to run. Our game is up and down the court and we make no bones about that. We want to run the basketball.” – Meadors

Travel the world and the seven seas…

International play has been a topic of concern for every team in the league this season. With respects to the World Championships at the end of the summer, the earlier start to the WNBA season has conflicted with more than a few overseas commitments. McCoughtry, who played this past offseason overseas in Slovakia, admitted it was a great experience to see the world and take in different cultures. From a coaching standpoint, Meadors sees it differently.

Everybody’s looking for something…

“We finally got everybody in practice last Friday for the first time in 19 practices. So we’re happy to have everybody on the roster and on the floor at the same time.” - Meadors

Sweet dreams are made of defense…

Team chemistry will remain a big factor in Atlanta's continued success
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

A run-and-gun team is often (and obviously) defined by its offense, but the Atlanta Dream defense is one of the toughest in the league. The Dream is currently ranked third in fewest points allowed (72.75) and first in point differential (+8.25). Whether it’s 6-foot-7 Alison Bales, 6-foot-5 Erika de Souza or 5-foot-9 Armintie Price, the Atlanta defense is stacked with size and speed. On Sunday against the New York Liberty, Price posed as the X Factor and turning point in Atlanta’s come-from-behind victory. Defensive game hardly translates into the points column, but for Price that’s exactly what happened. Eight points, three timely steals and a knack for naturally transitioning play in either direction enabled Atlanta to regain momentum and secure the win.

Who am I to disagree…

“She gives us that spark off the bench. We knew if we kept fighting we’d have a chance to win. She’s one of the great defenders in this league. I think she should be the Defensive Player of the Year. She got some deflections and some steals and really helped us out.” – McCoughtry on Price’s defensive play

Travel the world and the seven seas…

Well, maybe not the world per se, but definitely South America. Iziane Castro Marques and Erika de Souza, both of Brazilian decent (bonus: their birthdays are only 10 days apart), provide a solid one-two punch. Castro Marques is a consistently accurate shooter who is already draining nearly 55 percent of her shots. Point totals of 23, 18 or 13 are a welcome contribution, especially when de Souza is playing under the basket and pulling down an average of 10 rebounds per game. Second chance points were big for Atlanta on Sunday, as they out-bullied and outscored the Liberty 16 to 4.

Everybody’s looking for something…

“We do not give up. We never give up. And I think that’s what shows how strong we are. That shows a lot of heart when you can come back like that. We were down the whole game. We fought, fought, fought. We knew we didn’t play as good as we could play so we came out the second half and had our chemistry going for us. Couldn’t ask for more.” – McCoughtry, following Atlanta's 86-77 win over the Liberty on Sunday, May 23

Some of them want to use you, some of them want to be used by you…

It’s only a matter of time before teams start to look at the Atlanta Dream and use them as a point of reference. Much like how the Phoenix Mercury is known for an aggressive and fast-paced game that is hard to contest (especially on their home court), it’s only a matter of time until the Dream is garnering similar comments. If you’re curious to see how the two teams fair against one another then you’re in luck. Mark your calendars: Friday, May 28, 10:00 PM ET; Phoenix vs. Atlanta.

Some of them want to abuse you, some of them want to be abused…

Atlanta is abusing teams on the boards. The Dream ranks second in the league in rebounds per game with 40.00 and similarly ranks second in the league in rebounds allowed per game at 30.50 for a league-best differential of +9.5. Atlanta also ranks first in the league in blocks per game (+2.75); yet another way in which the Dream is simply abusing teams on both sides of the ball.

Hold your head up, moving on…

The Dream will no doubt face a tough opponent later this week when they head out on the road to take on the Mercury. Phoenix, despite their early struggles, is still reigning champs and remain the team to beat. If ever there was a test for Atlanta then Phoenix is it. It may not be easy, but Meadors knows that first hand.

“It’s a tough place; a fun place. I was fortunate enough to be out there when they were playing the Finals and everything and they gave me the 2009 Coach of the Year Award there so I had an opportunity to sit in the stands with the Phoenix fans and I was just hooting and hollering with them, and they said, ‘Coach we really like you,’ and I said, ‘Yeah you like me until I’m on the other team down there on the bench.’” - Meadors
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