Falcons’ Ryan makes Dream games a habit

The Dream suffered their first loss at home this season when they lost to the New York Liberty 88-82 on Sunday night. Atlanta had won eight straight home games to start the year and was the final WNBA team without a loss in its own arena before being defeated by New York.

 

BRIGHT SPOT …

Angel McCoughtry was up to her usual high-scoring ways, pouring in a game-high 30 points in the loss. Erika de Souza led the team in rebounds and had a double-double with 23 points and 10 boards.

The game was close throughout with neither team gaining a double-digit lead. The Liberty took a five-point edge at halftime and matched Atlanta shot-for-shot in the second half to salt the win away.

Free throws proved to make the difference with New York knocking down 19 of 20 from the charity stripe, while Atlanta missed six. Erika de Souza missed four free throws that probably cost the team a chance at a win. Despite the loss, Atlanta put forth a good effort on the defensive side of the floor, causing 16 New York turnovers. The loss was the second to New York in three games this season. The Dream will have a chance to even up the season-series on Sept. 6 when they travel to “The Big Apple”.

Since a 10-1 start, the Dream have lost seven of their last eight games. Atlanta has fallen into second place in the conference, now two and a half games behind first-place Chicago.

Injuries have taken their toll, especially in the front court. Center Sancho Lyttle was lost for 6-to-8 weeks back on July 9 and the team misses her low-post presence. Lyttle was averaging 14.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Without those numbers, Atlanta has been scrambling to find points and finding it tough to get good percentage shots.

The Dream can take solace in the fact that six of the seven losses in recent games happened on the road. Three of the next four games will be at home where Atlanta has been stellar.

At 11-8, the team is still in a good spot to make the playoffs, but if the avalanche of losses continues, the early season hopes of a title could roll away quickly.

 

CELEBRITY SIGHTING …

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and his wife have regularly attended Atlanta Dream games ever since the Ryan’s moved to Atlanta. Now, Sarah Ryan will be working with the team as a sponsorship sales consultant. Last month, Ryan was hired by the Dream. She holds a degree in communications from Boston College, as well as a passion for basketball.

Ryan played college basketball while at Boston College, starting at point guard for three years. She ended her college career ranked second in school history in assists.

“Sarah has played women’s basketball at an elite level. She has a true passion for the game and knowledge of everything that goes into it,” CEO Ashley Preisinger, told the team website. “She could do many different things at this stage in her life, and we are thrilled to have her as a part of our team.”

Ryan has held several administration positions since graduating. Most recently, she has volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club after-school programs in Atlanta.

“It’s a thrill to return to basketball, even in a non-playing capacity.” said Ryan. “I’m passionate about sports and bringing attention to the women who play them. I hope my perspective as a former player can open people’s eyes to how great this team and the WNBA are.”

 

ON THE DOCKET …

Atlanta will play a home-and-home with Connecticut this week and will entertain Washington on Sunday afternoon.

Beating the Connecticut Sun has been easier this year than in previous seasons. The Dream beat Connecticut in both matchups so far, but Atlanta won’t sleep on this team that features high-scoring center Tina Charles. Charles averages 18.3 points and 11 rebounds per game this season. Charles could take advantage of the Dream’s thin lineup at center. Ruth Riley was signed for insurance, while Lyttle was out, but has yet contribute big numbers for Atlanta.

Atlanta should take advantage of the next three games against teams that are below .500.

 

 

 

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