by: Shelly Rose Sherman
Atlanta Dreams hand Mercury a nightmare on Sunday afternoon in College Park, Georgia, redeeming their throne on home court with a game steal and final score 82-54. The Dreams defense lead an explosive run to sabotage the Mercury’s offense lead by their star players, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith. At the half, the Dream were dominating the Mercurys with a 20-point lead and a whopping 25 rebounds! Atanta Dreams guard Kristy Wallace, who scored a career high 17 points; pushed the Dreams rally to an unreachable high score that enabled the Mercury to ever bounce back.
Atanta Dream guard Erica Wheeler, who should a leadership role to her teammates, commanded the offense with 16 points for the afternoon. Cheyenne Parker contributed 12 points off the bench. However, Dream’s fans were looking for a redemption from their rookie – star player Rhyne Howard after last game’s shut down against the Washington Mystics when she had zero points for the night. This afternoon, Howard was productive this game, racking in 12 points. Even though this is not Howard’s average, it’s definitely an improvement from last game.
Mercury’s guard Diamond DeShields played a total of 36 minutes; the entire game to try and breathe life back into the team’s offense. The glance of a very fatigue and winded DeShields was very noticeable towards the 4th quarter, as she panted her way up and down the court. Considering Diggins-Smith and Taurasi being benched the remainder of the 4th quarter, knowing that the Dreams have taken the victory, DeShields was left to carry the team the rest of the stretch. She ended the game with 23 points as the Mercury’s highest scorer. Diggins-Smith had 7 points and Diana Taurasi finished with a shocking 2 points.
The ending score displayed how powerful and dominating the Dream were on offense, but their defense was the key them capitalizing on on a win this afternoon. The Dream out rebounded the Mercury 47 to 29; defensive rebounding 37 to 19. Atlanta’s assist game was superb as well at 25 total. Initializing a a 30 point lead at one time in the game.
Atlanta Dreams next game will be against the Minnesota Lynx on June 1 at 6pm. Atanta is now number 3 in the Eastern Conference standings. Sylvie Fowles has been the top player for the Lynx averaging 17.4 points while shooting 63% from the field. Moriah Jefferson is also Lynx’s go-to averaging 14.8 points shooting 46% from the field.
Phoenix Mercurys were definitely missing a key player. Setting aside the game, the WNBA raised more awareness to the release of Mercury’s star center, Brittney Griner who was detained by Russian officials held 100 days thus far. The WNBA is appealing for officials to bring her home. In this stance, the WNBA is wearing the logo “BG 42” on all apparel and on all the leagues basketball courts. The US Government has stated Griner is being wrongfully detained and the State Department is wanting to negotiate her release.