Atlanta aims for first-ever win over Shock

Breaking Down the Dream

Last year at this time, the Atlanta Dream were still a week away from the first win in team history. Now 3-4, the second-year franchise could match their entire 2008 win total by defeating the Shock Friday. Detroit won all three meetings last season by 12, 21 and eight-point margins.

The Dream have erased those memories, along with the nightmarish 0-17 start, by cleaning house. They waived two former Shock teammates, center Katie (Feenstra) Mattera and guard Ivory Latta, along with former Michigan State star guard Kristin Haynie, who subsequently signed with Detroit. (Haynie has played just 12 minutes in the last three games combined, notching two points, one rebound and one assist.)

GM and head coach Marynell Meadors has replenished the talent level with players from all avenues - free agency, trades, a folded franchise, even bringing players out of retirement and back from child birth. All that firepower has made the Dream the third-highest scoring team in the league (81.4 points per game), seven points better than a year ago.

This Aprilís No. 1 overall draft pick Angel McCoughtry started slowly, but looked every bit like a franchise cornerstone with 26 points and eight assists in Atlantaís last outing, an overtime loss at Chicago Tuesday.

The Dream have been one of the biggest benefactors of the Houston Cometsí demise. They signed center Michelle Snow (4.3 points, 3.3 rebounds per game) as a coveted free agent, but itís been forward Sancho Lyttle who has had the biggest impact. Taken first in the Comets dispersal draft, Lyttle is averaging 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds, both team highs.

The Dream starting lineup has been anchored by two former All-Stars. Forward Chamique Holdsclaw, who retired suddenly during the 2007 season while with Los Angeles, has returned and played well, posting 13.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Another former Spark, guard Nikki Teasley, missed last season due to pregnancy leave. The 2003 All-Star Game MVP is averaging 4.6 points, 2.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds.

The Dream also added veteran leadership to its backcourt by acquiring ninth-year point guard Coco Miller from the Mystics. A college teammate of Deanna Nolan at the University of Georgia, Miller has the second best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league (3.5:1). Another UGA product, Shock center Kara Braxton, will be serving the sixth and final game of her suspension for violating league rules. Last season Braxton averaged 13.3 points on 51.5 percent shooting and 4.0 rebounds in three games against Atlanta.

Defensively, the Dream still have room for improvement, surrendering the second-most points in the league (82.7 ppg), while Detroit has allowed the third-fewest (70.6 ppg). Thatís good news for a Shock squad that has struggled to score, averaging a league-low 66.4 points per game. Detroit averaged 95 points per game against Atlanta in 2008. Both teams have been poor behind the 3-point line this season, with only Los Angeles trailing Atlanta (27.1 percent) and Detroit (25.0).

The Shock and Dream tip off at 7:30 p.m. Watch the game live on DetroitShock.com.