With eye toward playoffs, Dream brace for Jewell Loyd, Storm

With eye toward playoffs, Dream brace for Jewell Loyd, Storm

The Atlanta Dream want to be sharp for the WNBA playoffs, but first they must take care of the business in front of them.

The Dream are one of four teams elbowing for the final three playoff berths. They have three regular-season games left to secure their spot, beginning Wednesday night against the visiting Seattle Storm in College Park, Ga.

Atlanta (17-20) is in a tight race with the Washington Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks and Chicago Sky for three playoff bids. If the Sky lose to the Indiana Fever on Tuesday and the Dream defeat Seattle on Wednesday, that will be enough for Atlanta to return to the postseason for the first time since 2018.

The Dream’s last outing was a 91-85 overtime loss at the Minnesota Lynx. Atlanta led 74-67 with 2:28 left in regulation after Aari McDonald made a 3-pointer, but Minnesota scored the final seven points of regulation and poured on 17 more during OT.

“It was a good game because of the atmosphere and the implications,” Dream coach Tanisha Wright said. “We didn’t win it, but for us to understand, this is gonna be playoff basketball. We can go back, we can learn from it, we can look at different possessions where we didn’t get the best shot or defensively we didn’t execute the defensive scheme, different things like that and understanding how that matters within games like this.”

Cheyenne Parker’s 20 points led five Dream players in double figures. Naz Hillmon contributed a career-high-tying 13 points and a season-best nine rebounds off the bench.

While Atlanta has been off since Friday, the Storm (11-26) head east after losing 103-77 at Las Vegas on Saturday.

Seattle will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Coach Noelle Quinn said the biggest challenge with a young team is maintaining professionalism every day.

“Overall, though, I’ve enjoyed it because the group has been very coachable and very open to learn and being coached really hard but being loved even harder,” Quinn said.

One subplot the rest of the way will be the scoring pace of Jewell Loyd. Her average of 24.3 points per game is the second highest in league history; the record is Diana Taurasi’s 25.3 clip in 2006. Loyd has scored 25 or more points in five of her past six games.

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.