Dream prepare for final home game before Olympics

The Dream have seven games left before the Olympics halts their season for a month.

Of those seven games, though, only one will be on their home floor at Philips Arena: Tuesday's contest against the Indiana Fever. But don't expect Dream coach Marynell Meadors to put any extra emphasis on this one.

"Every game is big in this league," she said. "There's not one that is any more important than another because they all count. At the end of the year, you just hope you're in the top four and in the playoffs."

The team sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday play with a 5-7 record, trailing the third-place Fever by 2 1/2 games. Meadors is well aware her team would be in a more comfortable position if it had played better at home. The Dream is just 4-4 at Philips this season.

"That's four too many [losses] in my estimation," Meadors said.

To bump their home record above .500, the Dream will have to do so at an unusual time for a weekday: noon. Though they will have to contend with the early tip-off to accommodate a "Kid's Day" promotion, the Dream's star guard-forward, Angel McCoughtry, was not concerned.

"Basketball is basketball," she said. "It doesn't matter what time it is. You still have to go out and play."

Meadors shared McCoughtry's thoughts, downplaying that the start time would pose problems. What Meadors didn't like was that her team lost a day to prepare for the Fever. After a 10-point win at New York Sunday, the Dream could not make it back to Atlanta until Monday, costing them the chance to walk-through the Fever's offensive and defensive systems. Instead, the team studied Indiana's film.

One positive is that McCoughtry said her left knee sprain is "feeling a lot better" than last week. She also admitted that the injury may have been a blessing in disguise, since extra conditioning work has her in better shape than before. And it's helped buttress her skills on the court as well.

"Honestly, if I hadn't hurt my knee, I wouldn't have been doing all that extra work I've been doing now," she said, "and it's really improving my game."

Dream to stay active despite Olympic break

Just because McCoughtry and Meadors will head off to London to join the U.S. Olympic team doesn't mean the rest of the Dream will sit around and await their return. Meadors said the rest of the team will be involved in community relations during the four-week Olympic break.

According to Meadors, the WNBA allows half of the team's players to go on vacation for the first week while the rest remain in Atlanta for community events and individual training. The halves then switch roles the following week. The final two weeks will include preparation for resuming regular-season play. The Dream's first game after the break will be at Chicago on Aug. 17.