Atlanta Dream: WNBA finals notebook

The Seattle Storm have the best record in the WNBA in the regular season at 28-6 and are 4-0 in the playoffs.

The Storm have two players on the USA Women's national team (Sue Bird and Swin Cash) and a league MVP candidate in forward/center Lauren Jackson, who averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. They also have home-court advantage in their best-of-five series in the WNBA finals against the Dream.

Those elements are why many people consider the Dream the underdogs as the teams start their series Sunday in Seattle, but Dream players and coaches don't mind the label.

The Dream, who had the fourth and final seed in the Eastern Conference, swept top-seeded Washington in the conference semifinals and No. 2-seeded New York in the conference finals.

"I think everybody has overlooked us all season," backup guard Shalee Lehning said. "We love that."

Dream coach Marynell Meadors said her team is "totally the underdogs," and she likes it.

“I think it gives you more incentive to win," she said.

Dream guard Angel McCoughtry said her team is used to proving people wrong this season.

No big deal

Don’t look for McCoughtry to have any lingering effects from her game Tuesday, when she set an all-time league playoff record with 42 points in the Dream’s 105-93 victory against the New York Liberty.

“That game won’t sink in until we get our [championship] rings,” McCoughtry said.

McCoughtry said she wasn't playing differently against the Liberty when she found herself in a scorer's duel with Cappie Pondexter, who scored 36 points (the league's third-best playoff scoring performance).

“I just wanted to win the game,” McCoughtry said. “It was nothing new.”

Scouting report

Seattle was 2-0 against the Dream this season. The Storm snapped the Dream’s season-opening six-game winning streak with a 90-72 victory in Seattle on June. 1.

Seattle defeated the Dream 80-70 in Philips Arena on Aug. 10.

"We've got to take care of the big three [Bird, Cash and Jackson] for them," said Dream assistant coach Carol Ross, who serves as defensive coordinator.

Ross said plenty of past WNBA championship teams have had the same thing Seattle has -- three great players on their roster. That’s why Seattle is a tough matchup.

“You want to limit the touches of the best players on the floor, whoever that is at any given moment,” Ross said. “Everybody has to lock up and play defense.”

Ross said the Dream will have to change up the way they play their man-to-man and zone defenses because Seattle does a good job of scoring in its half-court offense and on the fast break.

“We’ve got to be ready to do whatever it takes,” she said.