Huh? No it’s not a typo. If you type R W T D in a Google search, you get Run With The Dream. Yes, the Atlanta Dream’s slogan is back. They went away from it a year ago to “Live It”. After missing the WNBA playoffs last year with a 15-19 record, it was time to #RWTD again. This season is off to a great start. The Dream are 3-1.
The first game of the season was in Alamo country verse the San Antonio Stars. The Dream seemed to have the game in hand up 61-56 with 40 seconds left in the game. However, the Stars did not surrender the fort easily. They tied the game up at 61, at the buzzer, to send the game into overtime. Usually the momentum favors the home team, but the Dream stepped up on defense. They scored 12 points while only giving up two. Angel McCoughtry led the Dream to a 73-63 win with 15 points and 4 rebounds.
Game two of the season would be on the road again. This time it would be verse the Indiana Fever. The Dream started off with great shooting, making over 50% of their shots. The only trouble was the 16 turnovers that allowed the Fever to get a 52-37 halftime lead. The Dream made the corrections in the second half, trimming the lead to six points with 3:51 left in the game. Unfortunately, McCoughtry fouled out at that point. The Dream would lose their first game 94-85. The silver lining was seeing the emergence of Tiffany “Tip” Hayes.
The home opener was finally here. Time for the Dream to get some southern hospitality and home cooking. The Chicago Sky blew in, hoping to duplicate their preseason 20 point victory. From the early goings, it didn’t seem like the fans were going to celebrate a victory. The Sky held a four point lead at halftime but the Dream took a 64-58 lead to end the third quarter. The reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne only had one jump shot in the third quarter, thanks to McCoughtry’s tough defense. This received high praise from Coach Michael Cooper. “You know we see McCoughtry as more of an offensive threat but she is a good defensive player. I think the refs let her play her and get after her a little bit. Angel takes that match up very very seriously.” The Dream would go on to win the game 87-81, by minimizing their turnovers to only seven in the game. Coach Cooper said, “I told them that I don’t want them to cut down their activity as far as in transition, but it was important for us to play a little bit slower. In Indiana we were just looking to do things too quick. When you do that you create turnovers. So on the board we kept our turnovers down but I still want us to be aggressive.” Layshia Clarendon was the player of the game with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assist.
The team in the Big Apple known as the New York Liberty were waiting for the Dream. The Liberty are the defending Eastern Conference champions. This fourth Dream game would be a great test of what type of team they have. Due to a little bit of early jetlag, the Dream found themselves down 20-23 at the end of the first quarter. Tip kept the Dream within striking distance at the half with her 13 points and five rebounds. The second half would be a game of runs by both teams until the last two minutes of the game. With the game tied at 73, both teams would trade free throws and go to overtime tied at 77. The Dream definitely drew off their experience in overtime. McCoughtry scored the first four points of overtime, as the Dream would go on to win 85-79. It was Tip that prove invaluable throughout the game with her 27 points and 11 rebounds.
It’s still early in the season but the Dream are showing a balance attack with McCoughtry, Tip, and Clarendon. They are playing good team ball and more importantly, great defense. If you want to see a team that could bring the first professional championship to Atlanta in 20 years, come RWTD.