The Atlanta Dream have had less than a stellar start to the 2011 season (3-7) – but that energy from last year’s Championship run returned last night while playing the New York Liberty at Philips Arena in Atlanta. After a slow start in the first quarter, the Dream found themselves down 7 points at the end of the first half. Part of the reason was that All-Star Angel McCoughtry was in foul trouble early (and much of the game) and got only 18 minutes of run time.
Picking up the slack for McCoughtry were Erika de Souza (27 pts/15 rebs) and Lindsey Harding (25 pts/3 assts). Late in the 4th quarter, each player hit big free throws to tie the game in a seesaw battle for the lead with the Liberty. Armintie Price’s 8 pts and 6 rebs came at critical points in the game, which kept the momentum with the Atlanta Dream.
The Dream is sorely missing Center Sancho Lyttle, who is away competing for Spain in EuroBacket Women 2011 (a bi-annual basketball competition held between the nations of Europe [including Israel] for the women’s national basketball team).
The WNBA is more than just basketball, as seen by any attendees of a Dream game. Their community outreach programs are relatively unmatched in professional sports and each game is an interactive experience for the fans. A number of community awards are given throughout the season, and at nearly all Dream home games. Additionally, there is a large focus placed on the enrichment of children and empowerment of women. If that isn’t enough, the games are played with a significant amount of skill – something that is arguably missing from the men’s game.
-Jay Young is Director of Photography and Video for AOM and The “HIGH UP”
Last Thursday, Aspire Online Magazine was invited to a WNBA game at Phillips Arena to watch the Atlanta Dream play the Washington Mystics. As many of you may know, I am not well versed on basketball, or any sport of any kind, so immediately I started doing tons of research to familiarize myself with everything basketball! As I began to get deep into my findings while browsing through video clips and player stats, I had an immediate love for the game! These girls can hoop!
Well, when I walked into the arena, it was so exciting! The energy was awesome as the girls practiced on the court and as the fans screamed the names of their favorite player; I knew the game was going to be awesome. This was also going to be a great game because this was the first meet-up between the Mystics and the Dream since the Mystics lost to the Dream in the play-offs. The Dream went on last year to the finals and won the Eastern Conference Championship for 2010.
The atmosphere was super charged and Dream lead the game until the last quarter at 46 seconds when the two teams tied up at 85-85. It was a nail biter and the crowd was going crazy. At the end of the 4th quarter the game was still tied, so overtime went into effect to break the tie. At this point, it was anybody’s game. The Mystics played hard on defense, and beat out the Dream by 8 points. The final score was 90-98. One of the Dream’s star players, Angel McCoughtry, was out most of the game due to knee injury. Many feel if she had been in, the outcome would have been different.
There you have it folks!! I am your official stop for select WNBA games and, not to mention, a new and huge fan of the WNBA. 🙂 These games are so much fun for the entire family! I was quite impressed because the arena had so many fun activities and prizes during the game to get the crowd involved. Some of the activities were the “father daughter dance-off”, I-pad Karaoke, the Jam Cam, the Suitcase Race, and a lot more. But my favorite was definitely the suitcase race. Two fans were picked from the audience and given a suitcase full of clothes. The fans then had to put on everything in the suitcase and run down the court and shoot a basketball in the basket. The first person to do it won a round trip ticket from Airtran! How cool.
If you’re looking for inexpensive family fun this summer, the WNBA has you covered. I laughed, cheered and could not keep my eyes off the court. These ladies put their hearts and souls into this game. If you don’t follow the WNBA already, I suggest you do. I encourage you to come out, show your support and pack the house! See you in stands!
See more photos under “event highlights” at Aspire Online Magazine.
-T. Monet is Special Correspondent for AOM and The “HIGH UP”. Photos by Jay Young.