The amount of losses accumulated by the Atlanta Dream has been the big story this season. But Friday night, another such defeat was overshadowed by the comments of head coach Marynell and leading scorer Betty Lennox, who didn’t appear to be on the same page after Meadors played the shooting guard just 12 minutes in an 81-75 loss to the Washington Mystics. Here’s a bit of what was said as well as a recap of the game. Expect more on this in the coming days.
After sitting for much of the first half and most of the third quarter, Lennox was pulled for rookie Tamera Young with 5:56 to play in the fourth quarter. Lennox’s disgust was clear immediately, as she ignored the head coach while walking to the bench.
When asked why Meadors removed her from the game, Lennox was clearly frustrated already.
“Ask the coach,” she remarked.
But Lennox’s short answers soon became longer, as she vented regarding her lack of playing time over the last two games.
“You can’t pull me out like I’m a rookie when I make a mistake or miss a shot,” she said.
Meadors appeared just as frustrated with Lennox.
“For some odd reason she’s not shooting the ball,” said Meadors. “I think she’s trying to make the game more difficult than what it is.”
But Lennox disagreed.
“I’m a professional basketball player,” she said. “When I have an opportunity, I try to play. It’s just kind of hard when you’re sitting out the whole game trying to come in and do something.”
Meadors also pointed to fatigue as a possibility for Lennox’s struggles; again, Lennox did not concur.
“How can I get fatigued with 12 or 17 minutes?” she said. “I know what I’m capable of doing.”
A LONG TIME COMING?
For many of us who have been inside the locker room postgame all year, Betty’s comments didn’t come as much of a surprise. She’s had so much success in her career, and suffering through a losing season like this has clearly weighed heavily on her. In the middle of the 0-17 start, Lennox made it very clear that this situation was already one that she was not used to, and was not happy with.
To her credit, she’s managed to be a professional and continued to play at a high level. But tonight the losing was just a little too much to deal with, and she let loose. Lennox and Meadors have had a good relationship for much of the year, but the losing strained that a bit. And tonight’s benching may have tarnished it.
Meadors is also GM of this team. So she holds Lennox’s future in her hands. If she chooses not to bring Lennox back next season, t eams will certainly be lining up for her services this offseason.
AS FOR THE GAME …
This was a game that the Dream had a chance to win, but once again dug a hole by closing out the third quarter poorly. Atlanta lead 53-49 with 6:34 to play in the third after two free throws from Iziane Castro-Marques as the Dream outplayed Washington early on. Then the Mystics grabbed the game by the horns, going on a 21-6 run to finish the quarter.
The Dream wouldn’t quit, and got right back into the game in the final stanza. Ivory Latta’s three-pointer with 3:47 pulled the Dream within 76-75. But Alana Beard found Monique Currie for an easy bucket on the ensuing possession.
The game was lost soon after when Latta turned the ball over on consecutive possessions. With her team still down three, she airmailed a pass to Erika DeSouza on the break that would have been a sure layup with just under two minutes to play. Then after Atlanta held on the defensive end, she lost her footing in front of the Dream Bench and lost the ball with 1:12 remaining. The point guard was distraught after the game.
“Those are some decisions I haven’t made all year,” Latta said of the turnovers.
Castro-Marques lead the way for Atlanta with 23 points and six rebounds. Allison Bales registered seven points, seven boards, and five blocked shots on the evening.
Bagriansky can be reached at email@example.com .