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September 16, 2010 at 11:36 AM

WNBA Finals live from Atlanta

HappyDream.jpgIt’s absolutely gorgeous in Atlanta, nothing like that sticky trip Seattle made to the south mid-August. Although the natives are itching to get into the fall gear, the Storm camp is getting a final run in its summer wear.
Shoot-around was lively Thursday morning, the team’s putting the final major touches on prep for Game 3 airing at 5 p.m. PST on ESPN2. Both teams finished the walk-through with halfcourt shots, Atlanta Dream rookie Brittainey Raven (pictured far right by The Associated Press) draining hers.
“Y’all know what happens when I make it, right?” she quizzed teammates as they gathered around for a closing huddle.
“We win?” Dream C Erika de Souza responded.
Teammate Armintie Price wasn’t so sure, however. “That’s what she said, but that’s a rookie, she be saying anything,”
Price left Game 2 with a sprained left ankle in the fourth quarter and did not return. Storm F Swin Cash stepped on the previously injured foot, but Price said she’s ready to play Thursday night. Instead of taping the ankle twice, she’s taping it three times, making the area look twice as thick as her right.
“Finishing” is the key word for the Dream. They had chances to get momentum-changing stops and go-ahead buckets late, but the shots clanked off the rim. The Dream took 12 more shots than Seattle, yet was 45.7 percent from the field and missed seven FT attempts.
“You’ve got to feel pressure, we’re down two games,” said Price, whose season could end Thursday. “We’ve got to come out with a sense of urgency and I think we will. We’re back at home and will be feeling these fans that have been supporting us all season, we’ve just got to be ready to play. We have to finish.”
Storm coach Brian Agler believes his team will play its best game of the series Thursday simply because after two games, Seattle has seen all of Atlanta’s new schemes and felt their pressure. Oh, and Cash made three halfcourt shots after shoot-around Thursday – so take that, Raven.
Still, Agler remains steamed at media thinking his team should have rolled previously because of the 28-win regular season or that Atlanta is some slouch because of the No. 4 seed tagged to their playoff name.
“Our league is good,” Agler said. “People look at our record and think, ‘Man, they’re just destroying people!’ Well, we may have won quite a few games, but if you watch each game, it wasn’t like it was a domination. How many times have we had to comeback in the fourth quarter (14)? Now, everybody is watching and they think, ‘How come this team that’s so dominant, doesn’t dominate?’ Well, it’s because Atlanta is good and this league is good. So, I think there might be a lack of respect from the ‘media’ toward Atlanta, not from us.”
The Storm has only won its first two games in the best-of-five series by a combined five points. Game 1 required a heroic shot by Sue Bird with 2.6 seconds remaining, so the Dream has reason to be confident.
Atlanta is anticipating a sold out crowd of 10,039 fans at Philips Arena on Thursday. The organization, under first-year owner Kathy Betty, opted not to reconfigure the arena to fit more fans. Plus, part of the total will be a slew of Storm fans making the trip in anticipation of a sweep, winning the city’s third major championship ever.
“I hope we can play one of our best games in the series,” Storm F Camille Little said.



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