I had a chance to touch base with Ivory Latta and head coach Marynell Meadors today from Indiana. Here’s a bit of what they had to say about the disappointing loss to the Chicago Sky.
WHAT HAPPENED IN CHICAGO?
No one was happy with the game against the Sky. Coach Meadors in particular still seemed a little shocked by the performance, as the team seemed to be turning the corner in the win against Minnesota and close loss in San Antonio before the 79-66 defeat.
“I’m trying to figure out myself what happened,” Meadors said. “We just had no rhythm offensively.”
“No rhythm” might be an understatement, as the Dream managed just six points in the first quarter and had just 17 at the half.
One reason for the struggles could be this simply brutal road trip. “Practices” were essentially limited to walkthroughs in San Antonio and Chicago because of the travel. The extra day before the Indiana game did give the Dream a chance to get a little more work in.
“Being on the road this long, you really don’t have a lot of time to practice,” Meadors said. “Today is this first day we’ve really had practice.”
GETTING READY FOR INDIANA
The Dream spent the night in Chicago before landing in Indianapolis around noon on Monday. With a full practice under their belts Tuesday afternoon, they’re hoping to find their form from the first two games of the road trip.
“We started off very well and got the first road win and I think we played very well in San Antonio,” Latta said. “Now we’ve got to up our level of play. We have to come out with a lot of energy.”
As for what to expect from the game, Latta sounded ready to do some running.
“It’s going to be an up-and-down-game,” she said. “We’ve definitely gotta be on our toes.”
A 1 p.m. tip-off also means no walkthrough for the Dream the day of the game. Instead, they went through that process this evening.
“We need to get some rest and have a good game tomorrow,” Latta said.
The Fever will be ready. They’re 10-9 and currently sitting in third place in the East. But they play like they’re in first place at Conseco Fieldhouse, where they have compiled an 8-2 record this season.
BENCH PUSHING STARTERS FOR MINUTES
Several players have played pivotal roles off the bench for Atlanta recently. This new trend has changed Meadors’ rotation and also created some matchup problems for other teams. But the starters, especially Latta, welcome the challenge from the second units. She sounded thrilled with Kristin Haynie’s recent play, even though the backup’s good form has cost her some minutes.
“Oh, man. She’s been playing incredible,” Latta said.
And even though they are competing for PT., the two spend a lot of time together talking about how they can get better.
“We talk a lot about how we can get the ball to the post more,” Latta said, “and how we need to push the ball more and get more fast breaks.”
Another revelation has been the combination of 6-foot-8 Katie Feenstra and 6-7 Allison Bales in the post. Although she didn’t use them together much against Chicago, Meadors said she expects to use the duo in certain situations, starting against the Fever tomorrow.
The hot topic of discussion among fans and media has been the progress with Erika, who averaged 11 points and nine boards before getting hurt early in the season. Coach Meadors expects to see her back on the floor for next week’s homestand, possibly for all three home games.
But the Dream may be conservative with DeSouza’s minutes, as she will join the Brazilian National Team in preparations for Beijing immediately after the Olympic Break commences.
“She’s just trying to get back to full strength right now,” Meadors said. “As soon as the games are over with she’ll be joining them. We have to be cautious there a little bit.”
So even though DeSouza should be back next week, don’t expect her to play big minutes. But of course that could all change depending on what type of progress she makes this week.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back with a few comments and quotes from the road after tomorrow’s matinee. And as always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments!
Bagriansky can be reached at email@example.com.