Ask Dream guard Lindsey Harding her thoughts on the Dream ranking 10th in the WNBA in rebounds per game before Friday’s game against the San Antonio Silver Stars, and you’ll receive a candid response.
“Were we that great at the beginning [of the season] last year?” she asked. “... We always talk about rebounding all together. It’s not just on our bigs. Our guards have to get long rebounds, and the guards [have to get] in there helping in the post. We all have to do our part to get those rebounds.”
On Friday night, they did their part, as nine different Dream players hauled down rebounds to help them win the rebounding battle 39-28. The performance also helped the team move from 10th in the league to third in rebounds per game.
And after harping on the importance of rebounding in each practice, Dream coach Marynell Meadors was glad to see it come to fruition in a game, which she credited with helping ignite the team’s fast-break offense in the 60-57 victory. The Dream scored 21 fast-break points compared with the Silver Stars’ nine.
The Dream’s rebounding difficulties earlier in the season stemmed from being out of position too often. All of those mistakes came on defense, where Meadors said the team just needed to “go get the ball.”
“Sometimes [we’ve] turned and looked and we think, ‘Well maybe my teammate is gonna get it,’ when really we should all be going after the ball,” she said. “That should be a priority.”
Erika de Souza’s return after the Olympics in August will provide the Dream a much-needed boost on the boards. She was the Dream’s top rebounder last season at 7.5 per game.
Until then, Meadors said the team will continue to do the best it can to win the rebounding battle.
“Everybody needs to understand that we have a very young post game right now,” she said. “The only one with experience with us is Sancho Lyttle. The rest of them are new. So we are pulling them through and getting them to do things they are not accustomed to doing.”
Building on victory
The Dream did something Friday night they had not done all season: win a close game. Entering Friday, the Dream’s two victories were by 26 points and 16 points, respectively. Conversely, their record in single-digit games was 0-2. Not surprisingly, eking out a victory Friday pleased Meadors, especially since it came against a veteran Silver Stars squad.
“It felt really good to close it out in the end,” she said. “We have lost a couple games because we just couldn’t close it out. And maybe we learned from our mistakes earlier, but I know the will to win was out on the court [Friday]. This win gives us a little excitement. A win cures all ills.”
While the Dream are 1-2 in single-digit decisions, their opponent Sunday has shown it doesn’t know how to lose close games. The Connecticut Sun’s record in games decided by nine points or less this season is 4-0, which includes an 89-81 victory over the Indiana Fever on Friday night.