The Atlanta Dream (4-5) fell 95-71 to the Seattle Storm (8-2) on Wednesday evening at Gateway Center Arena in College Park, Georgia. The Dream are now on a three game losing streak as they could no way to weather the Storm’s sharpshooters.
The Seattle Storm began the night by playing some lockdown defense in the paint. Traps were set by starting center Mercedes Russell and forward Breanna Stewart. This made it hard for the Dream to find any success in the lane and they found themselves in a double-digit deficit early. Atlanta Dream’s starting guard Courtney Williams began to take matters in her own hands late in the first quarter. Williams, who has been nicknamed the “walking bucket”, started breaking Storm defenders down off the dribble and provided much needed energy on offense. The story of the first quarter was Stewart draining threes for the Storm and Williams responding with a quick two. Williams finished the game with eight point and five boards while Stewart ended with 15 points and nine boards for Seattle.
The Dream was able to tie the game 42-42 right before halftime. Tiffany Hayes took over midway through the second quarter and carried Atlanta on a run. Hayes had a big steal on a pass intended for the Storm’s Sue Bird. She was able to convert on the other end never let up defensively. Courtney Williams was able to read the Storm’s interior defense better as the game went on and found Dream center Elizabeth Williams down low for some big plays. Unfortunately, the Storm has multiple players that can fill it up from three including Stewart, Bird, and forward Katie Samuelson. Anytime Atlanta would string together a good offensive sequence, one of the three would drain a quick one from behind the arc. The Storm finished the game shooting 54.5% from three. The Storm led the Dream 45-43 at the half.
The second half opened with the Dream’s Odyssey Sims taking charge. Sims made it hard for the Storm’s Bird to get a shot off and got her hands in several pass breakups. Sims battled for rebounds and bullied her way to the basket on offense. Sims led the Dream to their first lead of the game on a go ahead bucket midway through the third. Sims ended the night with eight points, five assists, and four steals. Even with her efforts, the Storm’s three point shooting kept them close at all times. The Dream also struggled when trying to slow down opping center Mercedes Russell in the paint. Russell had her way down low as her primary defender was Atlanta’s Monique Billings. Russell seemed to have a million different ways to finish at the rim and was able to draw fouls in the process. Between Russell dominating down low and the Storm’s sharp shooters, the Dream ended the third quarter down 69-61.
The Dream had trouble taking of the ball in the fourth quarter that resulted in 12 turnovers on the night. The Storm turned up the defensive pressure late and eliminated all of the Dreams offensive ball movement. Epiphanny Prince came off the bench for the Storm and played lock down defense. Prince, Stewart, and Bird refused to let the Dream have any success with their half court offense. The Storm was able to run away with a 24 point lead to end the game in College Park.
Tiffany Hayes was the leading performer for Atlanta as she put up 22 points and four assists.
The Dream will face the Storm for a second time at Gateway Center Arena on Friday night.