Just had a chance to talk with Coach Meadors after practice. Here’s a recap of what we talked about.
GOOD AND BAD OF THE ROAD TRIP
It’s clear that this team has come back home feeling pretty good about themselves. Sure, 2-4 isn’t exactly stellar, but it’s a major improvement for a team that started 0-17.
“We had some people that really stepped up,” said Meadors, “and to beat Indiana and Minnesota on the road was great. Those two teams are probably going to be in the playoffs.”
She marked the blowout losses in Chicago and Phoenix as the low points of the trip. The Dream fell behind early and couldn’t recover in either game, a problem that has plagued them all year.
“We’re getting open looks, we’re just not hitting shots,” Meadors said. “If we can relax a little bit we’ll be fine.”
As for the loss in Phoenix, Meadors wasn’t lying when she commented postgame on how fatigued her team was. The Dream spent the night in Sacramento on Friday and arrived in Phoenix not long before gametime.
“We tried really hard but we were a step slow, it was like we were running in quicksand,” she remarked.
HOME, SWEET HOME
The Dream finally return to Philips Arena tomorrow, and everyone is happy to finally get back to Atlanta.
“It feels great to be home and sleep in your own bed,” Meadors said.
But the 11 a.m. start time does present a problem, as pregame routines must be altered drastically.
“That’s really, really early,” said Meadors of the unusual start time. “You don’t have time for shootaround or anything in the morning.”
As for the game, expect a battle.
“They have the most physical defense of any team in the league,” Meadors said. “They’re great rebounders and do a really good job of pushing the ball up the court.”
Such physical play has presented a problem for Atlanta in the past, as Meadors and several players have felt they’ve been pushed around at times. But they have made clear progress in that area over the last several weeks. They will have to match Sacramento’s physicality if they want to win.
Matching up in the backcourt will also be crucial. Ivory Latta has had her struggles defensively this year, and Ticha Penicheiro is one of the tougher covers in the league. Then there’s Nicole Powell, who Meadors credited as being one of the best shooters in the league. She’s been shooting at a 41% clip from outside the arc this season.
POINT GUARD CONTROVERSY?
After being buried on the bench earlier in the year, Kristin Haynie has responded with a great second half of the season. And although Meadors still plans to start Latta at the point, she’s no longer looking at Kristin as a backup.
Look for the two on the floor together tomorrow, especially if Haynie is playing well again.
“I played them together quite a bit [on the road trip],” Meadors said. “Both of them are really excellent point guards but they can both play the 2-guard spot.”
DeSouza is doubtful tomorrow. And the team is shooting for Thursday’s practice as a date for her to return to the floor. Don’t expect the Brazilian to make it back until this weekend’s games against Washington and New York.
Bagriansky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.