Dream's size dominates Mercury in 106-76 winJul 31, 2009 - 3:06 AM By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA(AP) -- Marynell Meadors knew the Atlanta Dream's size could cause problems for the Phoenix Mercury. The coach didn't know how much trouble until her team scored the first 15 points of the game.
Angel McCoughtry scored 17 points, and the Dream dominated the Western-Conference leading Mercury in a 106-76 win on Thursday night.
"We jumped on them early and that gave us the confidence we needed," Meadors said. "We've got long arms, big players and we can run the floor. I knew before the season what type of team we have. Tonight, it just came together."
The Dream (9-10), playing at home for the first time since July 7, used their size to outscore the Mercury 46-30 in the paint and hold a 49-32 rebounding edge. Iziane Castro Marques and Ivory Latta each scored 16 points, and Sancho Lyttle had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Erika DeSouza also had nine points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta, which set a franchise record for points and handed Phoenix its first loss to an Eastern Conference opponent. The Mercury had been 6-0 against the East.
"It was a statement game for us," said Lyttle, who surpassed 900 points and 700 rebounds in her career. "We had to come out and make a point to start the second half of the season. We had the mind frame of what we wanted to do and got it done."
Tangela Smith led Phoenix with 15 points. Diana Taurasi, the WNBA's leading scorer, was held to 11 points, and Cappie Pondexter finished with two. The Mercury, who averaged 93.2 points a game, shot 39 percent (30 of 77) from the floor and 28 percent (6 of 21) from the 3-point line.
The Dream shot 50 percent (40 of 80) overall and made 20 of 35 free throws.
Smith said the Mercury didn't play with enough energy and couldn't find a way to stop the Dream from scoring in close.
"They really pounded us inside," she said. "They were so aggressive and pulled ahead by so much, we couldn't come back. We just didn't play a full 40-minute game. It showed."
Atlanta scored the first 15 points, holding Phoenix scoreless for the opening 9 minutes. The Mercury (14-6) got no closer than four points and trailed by 32 when Michelle Snow hit a mid-range jumper with 1:23 left in the second quarter.
Lyttle's layup late in the third quarter put Atlanta ahead 95-40 - its largest lead of the game.
Meadors believes the Dream have a solid chance of making the playoffs if they continue to use their size to their advantage.
"We have something great here," she said. "I knew before the season what kind of team we have. We can make some moves in the second half of the season. If we continue to play defense and rebound, we'll be all right."
ATLANTA 106 FINAL
Jul 30 9:31 PM
ATLANTA 26 END, 1ST QTR
Jul 30 7:57 PM
- WNBA Capsules May 22
- WNBA Capsules May 21
- WNBA Capsules May 14
- WNBA set to tip off 20th season this weekend May 13
- Atlanta cuts 41-year-old Milton-Jones, WNBA's oldest player May 12
- WNBA in Big D: Wings land in Dallas, league's 1st team there May 10
- Indiana trades Layshia Clarendon to Atlanta for draft pick May 10
- Diana Taurasi back in WNBA, shoots for 4th Olympic gold May 9
- Champion Lynx begin season with 1 more mountain to climb May 8
- Liberty trade for All-Star guard Shoni Schimmel May 2
- Taurasi, Catchings, Bird headline US women's Olympic team Apr 27
- WNBA hires Jay Parry as chief operating officer Apr 11