Atlanta Dream Starters: Tiffany Hayes, Layshia Clarendon, Bria Holmes, Markeisha Gatling, Elizabeth Williams.
Dallas Wings Starters: Odyssey Sims, Skylar Diggins, Karima Christmas, Plenette Pierson, Courtney Paris
On a beautiful Friday evening at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion, the Atlanta Dream (12-12) hosted the Dallas Wings (9-15).
The game started off rough for the Dream as Wings star Skylar Diggins took the reins nailing 5 of her 6 field goal attempts and making 100% of her free throws.
For the Dream, Reshanda Gray was leading the way with 15 points in the 1st Half. Her support came from Bria Holmes (15 points) and Layshia Clarendon (10 points).
In the 2nd Half, the intensity rose and the game was getting more physical. Players were flying all over the floor and you could see a few subtle hip checks. One was so obvious it sent Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry flying to the floor which caused a ‘blank stare’ reaction towards the referee.
After the Dream took the lead, the Diggins-effect kicked in and after trailing by 14, the Wings found down by 5.
As the Wings took a timeout Odyssey Sims took a shot from a Dream player (huddled together) and slid a good a three feet across the arena floor (with no call). It was good to see such an intense game in front of an energetic McCamish Pavilion crowd.
The physicality continued with 4:13 left in the game when a shooting foul was called and three players hit the deck, with one clutching her wrist.
At this point, Diggins had completely taken over the game and willed her team to a score of 85-85 until Angel McCoughtry came back on a counter and broke the brief tie with a clutch lay-up.
The game went down to the wire but thanks to successful free throw shooting, the Dream were able to hold off the Wings 93-88. Even though Reshanda Gray lead the team in points, the most impressive player was rookie Bria Holmes. The newbie from West Virginia had a 13 point game, but it was her tenacity and will to win along with Clarendon (3rd year player) that will push the Dream into the future.
The Atlanta Dream’s next home game is Sunday, August 28 at Philips Arena at 3:30pm.
Photo: Hakim Wright