The Dream is going big.
Head coach Fred Williams has changed his starting lineup, inserting post player Aneika Henry – who had 14 points and 14 rebounds Sunday – into the starting lineup in place of Tiffany Hayes.
This is due to both strategy and injury.
Hayes took a nasty fall on her back and tailbone in Sunday’s game and is still very sore. Williams said she would try to play, but isn’t near 100 percent. So she wasn’t going to start anyway.
But I think Williams was going to make the lineup change in any case. The Dream was better Sunday when they went with the twin towers of Henry and Erika de Souza. They are a paint-based team anyway, why not go to your strength? And the move allows Dream star Angel McCoughtry to play the small forward position.
“I think it’s their best lineup,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said before the game. “And, honestly, I think Angel prefers playing the three. I think when you’re looking at this type of game, you’re looking at, ‘What gives us the best chance to win?’ ‘’
It will change things a bit for the Lynx, but not a whole lot. Covering McCoughtry has been a team thing from the start anyway. If anything, this will mean Rebekkah Brunson will cover McCoughtry less often, which Reeve sees as a plus. “Because that will make us better in defending Henry,” Reeve said.
--Meanwhile, if Hayes is severely limited, it will take a toll on the Dream. She is one of their better defenders, an able scorer and she injects a lot of energy into the Atlanta lineup.
“She’s been critical for that team,” Reeve said.
--It’s no secret that McCoughtry is the key to the Dream’s success. And you figure, she has to have bounce back after Sunday’s 6-for-24 performance.
But consider this: The whole Lynx defense is geared towards trying to prevent McCoughtry from getting shots from places she likes most. In three games vs. the Lynx this season she has shot 17-for-61 (27.9 percent) from the field and averaged 17.3 points.