Basketball Sports

Atlanta Dream Claim No. 2 Seed in 2018 WNBA Playoffs

Dream to open play August 26 at McCamish Pavilion 

LAS VEGAS – With today’s 93-78 win over the Las Vegas Aces Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Dream have clinched the No. 2 seed in the 2018 WNBA Playoffs.

The Dream, who finished the regular season with a franchise record 23 wins, will enjoy a double-bye in to the Semifinals and will start play with Game 1 Sunday, August 26 at 3 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Atlanta picked up a franchise-best 10th road win of the season in its win today.

Tickets for the Atlanta Dream’s 2018 Playoff home games will go on sale Monday, August 20 at 10 a.m. Fans can call 877-977-7729 or visit www.atlantadream.net to purchase tickets.

This season marks the third year of the current WNBA playoff format, as the top-eight teams in the league, regardless of conference, qualify. The first two rounds consist of single-elimination games, while the semifinals (Seattle vs. TBD, Atlanta vs. TBD) and WNBA Finals are best-of-five series. The top-two teams in the league receive first and second-round byes, while the third and fourth-seeded teams earn a first-round bye and host second-round games.

2018 Playoff Dates

Round/Format                                  Date                                                      Location                                       Time

Semifinals (Best-of-Five):            Starts Sunday, Aug. 26               McCamish Pavilion                          3:00pm

WNBA Finals (Best-of-Five):       Starts Thursday, Sept. 6            TBD                                                         TBD

The Atlanta Dream plays its home games in McCamish Pavilion on the Georgia Tech campus. Atlanta has qualified for the playoffs eight times, winning conference titles in 2013, 2011 and 2010.

 

 POST GAME NOTES

ATLANTA DREAM VS. LAS VEGAS ACES

Mandalay Bay Events Center • Las Vegas, NV

AUGUST 19 • @ 6:00 PM

TEAM Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 FINAL
Atlanta Dream 20 21 23 29 93
Las Vegas Aces 19 28 15 16 78

 

Highlights –  http://bit.ly/2nTiPXT

Elizabeth Williams’ Highlights –  http://bit.ly/2nQCpEg

Dream Notes

 

  • The Dream finish with a franchise record for all-time regular season win total with 23.
  • Atlanta close the regular season 10-7 on the road, a new franchise record. The previous best road record came in 2011, with a 9-8 record.
  • Elizabeth Williams led the Dream in scoring with 20 points, her 14th double-digit scoring effort.
  • Renee Montgomery finished with 16 points and dished out a season-high nine assists.
  • Montgomery has knocked down 18 three-pointers over the last four games, ending the regular season with 74 total.
  • Jessica Breland scored 16 points in just 20 minutes of action.
  • Alex Bentley came off the bench and added 12 points.
  • Tiffany Hayes recorded her 29th double-digit scoring effort behind 11 points tonight.
  • The Dream knocked down six three-point field goals in the second half after only hitting one in the first half.
  • When trailing at the half, the Dream is now 8-9. The Dream are 16-3 when scoring 80+ points in a game.
  • Atlanta sweep the season series and is now 15-9 all-time against the Aces (formerly San Antonio Stars) and tied, 6-6, at Las Vegas/San Antonio.

Aces Notes

 

  • A’ja Wilson (21 points) scored in double figures for the 33rd time to start her career, and now has the second longest such streak behind Cynthia Cooper, who did it in 92 consecutive games. She also scored 20 or more points for the 18th time this season.
  • Dearica Hamby (14 points) scored in double figures for the 12th time this season. It is the most points she has scored since June 22 vs. New York when she netted 16.
  • Kelsey Bone scored nine points, one off of her season high.
  • The Aces won six more games this season than the San Antonio Stars did a year ago (14 to 8).

Dream Head Coach Nicki Collen

How does it feel to have a win before playoffs? “This win was huge for us because this dictates that we’re the number two seed regardless of the result of the Washington and Minnesota game. You know, we’re controlling our own destiny. You want to win when you’re going into the playoffs but also when you’re vying the difference between a double bye into the semis or a single bye in a one game playoff, it’s really really big.”

What are your thoughts on basketball in Las Vegas? “Oh my gosh this place honestly is incredible. This is the second time we have been here and the signage, the marketing all of it is incredible and the game day experience is really good. The fans were engaged, involved and loud and it’s really impressive in a lot of ways. The money they put into the marketing side of it and the merchandise is really incredible honestly.”

#21 Renee Montgomery

How are you using today’s game to prepare for playoffs? “I’m using the atmosphere. Vegas has amazing fans and it’s loud in here. Things weren’t going our way, but you still have to find a way to win.”

What are your thoughts about basketball in Las Vegas? “It’s awesome. I’m excited! It’s a great trip, it’s the trip that everyone’s family wants to come to, everyone’s friends wants to come to. The environment is great. Mandalay Bay is awesome, I love staying here. So I am excited about what Vegas is doing here.”

#1 Elizabeth Williams

How are you using today’s game to prepare for playoffs? “This was a must win game for us and in playoffs you have a lot of games like that so that was the mentality we had coming in. We were just focused on winning one, we weren’t worrying about DC or anything and that was the mentality that we had.”

What’s it like playing in Las Vegas? “Oh it’s great. I really enjoy playing here, the fans are awesome. The court looks great. They’ve done a really great job bringing this team here and I’m excited for them moving forward for sure.”

Aces Head Coach Bill Laimbeer

Opening Statement… “Games like this are always tough. You get eliminated from the playoffs and have to go out there and find the motivation to keep working. We are professional basketball players, so I told the team before that we are going to play a lot of people tonight.  I want to compete – to win the game – and for the most part, I think we did for a half. We came out in the 3rdquarter and you could see we just didn’t have it anymore, mentally, they didn’t put forth the effort to win the game. [Atlanta] needed it badly, they did the job, they got the win.  I told [the team] after the game – be proud of this year, it was a great year for the Las Vegas Aces. We launched a franchise.  We competed and showed who we were – individually and collectively – and our franchise and our fans got to come out and enjoy a great product and a great sport, and MGM did a wonderful job launching this franchise. So, I told them to be proud of themselves.  Yeah, we didn’t make the playoffs, but we are really looking forward to next year.”

Biggest take away from year one – on or off the court? “I’ll talk on the court first. I think we established some players in this league, obviously there is A’ja Wilson.  She established herself with pride and played very well this year.  Kelsey Plum found herself also, found what I was looking for. There is more there, I know that, but I think she got her feet wet. Last year she was a bit of a lost puppy.  This year I think she found herself to a degree.  And I got a chance to look at everybody else.  I got to see Mo Jefferson for like half a year, not a 100% so it’s kind of difficult, but all the players that had been accumulated by San Antonio in the past, I got a chance to look at and understand who they are so I could make decisions going forward – what they are capable of and how they can help us.”

“Off the court, I think establishing our fan base was really good.  I think we have a very good crowd, a very good fan base that’s growing. I know that the media – yourself, and the TV, and print media – has been phenomenal in covering us.  I asked that at the start of the year ‘which comes first, the chicken or the egg’? Do we establish ourselves and play well and do you cover us, or do we let the chips fall where they may.  I think the media did a wonderful job of covering our team, exposing us to the city, and I think we responded accordingly. I think that we are a fun team to watch.  I think that people enjoy coming out to the games at MGM. I think there is a great in game experience coupled with a great product.  Everybody knows we are going to get better, we are going to grow, and it can grow with the young players.  That’s the best part about a franchise like ours.  You have young players that the fans can attach to for many years to come. They will wear their jerseys all the time. They will root for them to go get better.  They’ll become all stars, maybe Olympians, and it’s a bonding thing that I think will grow stronger every year.”

#21 Kayla McBride 

On the first season of WNBA basketball in Las Vegas…“It’s been fun. Obviously, Vegas really showed out for the us all season which was great. We continued to grow, continued to progress. I think you saw the emergence of Kelsey Plum, you saw the emergence of A’ja Wilson. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t really have any expectations, but now we do. We wrote our own story, but I was really proud of how we continued to fight all season. We obviously came up short, but nobody expected us to be in this position anyway. I was really proud of how our team fought all season and we continued to get better all season.”

On her excitement for next season…“With how we played, especially in June and July, I think it gives our fans something to be really excited about coming into next year. We still have a long way to go to be one of the top teams in this league, but I think we showed glimpses of how good we can really be if we continue to work hard and continue to trust the process of who we are and what we’re trying to become.”

#22 A’ja Wilson

On whether there was a moment in her rookie season that stood out to her…“It would just have to be every moment honestly. Every night, for the most part, I’m playing against people I watched in college that I look up to and I was competing against them. They’re defending me. I’m defending them, so I think those moments I really wanted to capitalize on. It’s just like, ‘Wow, I’m really here. I’m really a pro athlete and I’m playing this game.’ Those moments really stood out to me the most. But honestly, I’d have to say being around my teammates, getting a feel for them and coming together to watch us grow this season.”

On her overall season performance…“I would give myself a C+. With a little extra credit, I can get to a B-. I think that’s how I would grade myself. There’s a lot of things that I could have caught on very quickly, but I didn’t and I wish I would have capitalized on that now but it’s a little too late. I think coming back around next season, I’m excited to continue to be a sponge and to get in as much information that I can. And now that I know how quickly the season can go, knowing how to retain that information very quickly so I can help my team in a better way faster.”

 

Box Score Dream – Aces

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