Posts Tagged ‘ Lindsey Harding ’

The Atlanta Dream are slowly finding their identity

July 20, 2011 1:45pm
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They were the consensus preseason favorite to win the Eastern conference. They added all-star PG Lindsey Harding, the supposed missing piece. They were coming off their 2010 WNBA Finals run. This was supposed to be the year it would finally come together for coach Meadors and the Atlanta Dream. On paper they had it all.

In reality, the Dream came into the season banged up and lacking a true team element. They have arguably one of the most talented rosters in the league, but are now only finding their identity.

Today Atlanta defeated the Mystics 86-79, lead by Angel McCoughtry’s season-high 33 points. One of the biggest reasons for the Dream’s slow start has been Angel’s injured knee which has kept her from playing at a 100%. After some time off with their recent schedule, it appears Angel and Atlanta have started to turn the corner. After the win against Indiana, McCoughtry said, “The team did great.  We have really come into our own.  We’re playing with great chemistry.  We’re moving the ball well and sharing it.  Everyone is out there playing well together.  It’s good to see our growth and we want to continue to grow and get better as a team.”

The player with possibly the most pressure has been Harding, whose offseason move to Atlanta was among the most talked about. After struggling to find her role as the point guard of a new team, Harding has been one of the reasons for Atlanta’s current 3-game win streak.  After the win over the Fever, coach Meadors said, “Lindsey played really awesome.  She controlled the game, the pace of the game. Even though we had a lot of fast breaks, she was leading in a lot of those situations.  And she distributed the ball really well to her teammates.”

Atlanta has been improving their play on the defensive end which has turned into more fast-break opportunities for a Dream team that likes getting out on the break. “We’re able to score off our defense and get layups.  I think if we can continue to play that aggressive defensively, than we can run and score off our defense. That’s the difference,” said coach Meadors.

With Atlanta still waiting on Sancho Lyttle to make a return, the Dream still have an entire 2nd-half of the season to live up to their preseason hype. I think this team still has time to be the darling of the Eastern conference that so many people made them out to be before this season started.

 

Atlanta’s malaise

June 26, 2011 4:28pm
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The Atlanta Dream entered the 2011 WNBA season with championship aspirations. However, they are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference as of June 26 (latest loss coming at the hands of the red-hot San Antonio Silver Stars). The Dream have had its biggest issues in the backcourt, with starters Lindsey Harding (6.25 efficiency rating; 35% shooting from field) and Iziane Castro Marques (5.50 efficiency rating; 33% from field) both playing poorly. The continued absence of Sancho Lyttle (in Poland competing with the Spanish national team) has forced back-ups Sandora Irvin and Alison Bales into starting roles, where both have done rather poorly. On top of that, league superstar Angel McCoughtry has gotten off to a slow start this season due to injury and an undefined role. Head coach Marynell Meadors has to feel as though she woke up in the Twilight Zole because this is certainly not what she expected when she assembled this roster.

New York @ Atlanta, 3pm EST

June 5, 2011 8:20am
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An Eastern Conference Finals rematch will take place this afternoon, as the Atlanta Dream begin defense of their EC crown against the new-look New York Liberty. Both teams made personnel moves this past offseason, but it’s Atlanta’s acquisition that has everyone talking possible championship. Lindsey Harding, one of the WNBA’s better point guards, serves as a major upgrade at the point guard position over previous opening day Dream PGs in that she is able to flatten out the defense in transition and either score or pass, can score in a half court setting, and defends her position well.

By contrast, New York lost both Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Minnesota) and Janel McCarville (taking summer off) from last year’s team and did not replace either with proven talent. Head coach John Whisenant will have to rely on a young bench made up mostly of cast-offs and 2011 WNBA Draft afterthoughts.

Tip-off for today’s game is at 3pm EST.

To the point, Part 6 (Atlanta Dream)

May 30, 2011 8:23am
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How does a WNBA Finalist significantly improve its roster? By adding one of the best point guads in the WNBA to an already explosive offensive attack. Lindsey Harding, who is in her fifth season in the WNBA, will quarterback the Dream’s offense this season. Though Harding will be the Dream’s fourth Opening Day starting PG, she is undoubtedly considered to be the best out of that group. Harding’s ability to put the defense back on its heels in transition (athleticism), her ability to penetrate in the half-court setting, her playmaking ability on defense, and her ability to distribute makes her a tough player to contain and gives the Dream a major boost on both sides of the court this season. In an offseason where most Eastern Conference teams seemed to take a step backwards (new head coaches for three of the six teams and major shake-ups at PG for at least three teams and as many as five teams), Atlanta emerges as the clear favorite to win the East during the regular season and playoffs.

That said, Atlanta does have other options at the point in the extremely unlikely case that Harding can’t get the job done. Last year’s regular season starter, Shalee Lehning, and last year’s playoff starter, Coco Miller, return to the Dream this season. James Bowman of Swish Appeal does a fine job of first determining whether Harding is an upgrade over Lehning (she is) and to what extent. To the surprise of no one, it is believed that Harding will start at the point with Lehning backing her up (and Miller serving as the emergency third-string PG).

Can Harding be the missing piece for the Dream?

May 27, 2011 1:46pm
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After helping lead the Washington Mystics to the Eastern Conference’s best record, Lindsey Harding and the Mystics were beat in the playoffs, by Atlanta, who went on to the WNBA finals. After an offseason trade sent Harding to the Dream, Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com writes about Harding recalling that playoff series against her now current team.

“Going back on defense over and over, it was two on one or three on one,” Harding said. “Like, ‘Holy cow!’ It wasn’t just one of them; it was all of them. Which is why it was such a draw to go there. As a point guard, if you have that many options, it makes your job a little bit easier.”

The Dream are hoping Harding can be that missing piece that propels the Dream to a WNBA title.

Atlanta Dream to play only Preseason Game in England

May 26, 2011 9:30am
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Coming off a WNBA finals appearance and the addition of Lindsey Harding, expectations are high as they have ever been for the Atlanta Dream. The Dream arrived in Manchester today where they will face Great Britain women’s team Sunday in their only preseason game.

If any team might be able to get away with a single preseason game, it’s the Dream.

From Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The team didn’t make many changes in the offseason. The most notable addition was Harding, whom Meadors acquired in a trade to improve scoring at the point guard position. She has averaged 11 points per game in four seasons. Through more than a week of practices, Harding’s new teammates said she is fitting in well.”

To the point, Part 1 (Washington Mystics)

May 18, 2011 2:08pm
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After an eventful off-season that resulted in All-Star point guard Lindsey Harding being traded to conference-rival Atlanta (Harding traded to the Dream), the new-look Mystics, headed by new head coach/GM Trudi Lacey, will have to use their training camp sessions to find a new starting point guard. According to an interview with Dishin’ & Swishin’ (aired May 18), Lacey is counting on Kelly Miller to take over (Dishin\’ & Swishin\’ interview with Washington Mystics head coach Trudi Lacey), with Lacey pointing to Miller’s experiences as a championship-winning point guard for Phoenix in 2007 as a reason to believe Kelly will win the job. Several players were listed as possible back-ups, including perennial All-Star wing Alana Beard (who returns this season after missing all of 2010 to recover from arthroscopic tendon repair surgery on her ankle).

Injury Report