The Dream face a jam-packed two days of basketball this Friday and Saturday. If Angel McCoughtry had her way, that wouldn’t be the case.
The Dream host the Chicago Sky on Friday at 7:30 p.m. then must be in Washington, D.C., to take on the Mystics at 7:00 p.m. the next day. The set of games is the first instance of the team playing twice in two days since the preseason, when it stayed in Connecticut and scrimmaged the Sky and the San Antonio Stars.
McCoughtry took issue with the setup for the team’s next two games.
“The WNBA needs to get rid of back-to-backs,” McCoughtry said. “It’s one of the toughest things I’ve had to in my career. Players play too much and too long all year around.”
McCoughtry pointed out the strain scheduling two games in two days puts on all players. Not only do WNBA players deal with a 34-game regular season, but many, like McCoughtry, play overseas in the WNBA’s offseason. The wear and tear even with a break of a few days is considerable; forcing the athletes to play on hardly any rest only makes it worse.
Atlanta’s players plan to face the Sky Friday, wake up early Saturday morning and head to Washington for the next matchup. It’s a point of irritation for McCoughtry, who said the team could have easily played one of its games in the four-day span after Sunday’s win against Connecticut.
Dream head coach Michael Cooper also faces an unusual dilemma with the games. On one hand, he doesn’t want to risk any player’s season by playing her for many minutes with no rest; On the other hand, the tight nature of the WNBA playoffs means every game is valuable.
“When you have to go back-to-back, your bench becomes very important, so we look for those players to see a little more time,” Cooper said. “That’s the fun part about our playoffs: You can’t let games be lost. Every game is important.”
McCoughtry may continue to call for the WNBA to make a change, but until it happens, she’s taking the task in stride.
“It’s one of those things you’ve got to suck it up and do,” McCoughtry said. “We’ve just tough it out and get the job done.”