In a game that was destined to be an offensive track meet, it was apparent early on in the Atlanta Dream’s victory over the Phoenix Mercury that their defensive passion would be the anecdote.
With Diana Taurasi out with a hip flexor, Phoenix struggled to find cohesion initially on offense and Atlanta exploited her absence early and often. By halftime, Atlanta had extended its lead to 43-27 en route to a rather easy victory, 81-65.
"We did a really nice job on the defensive end, holding a team to 65 points and 38% field goal shooting.” said Atlanta Dream Head coach Marynell Meadors.
But there was another storyline to this game that really exemplified Atlanta’s hustle, intensity and aggressiveness -- Armintie Price. When one looks at Price’s final stat line: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, they might not be overly impressed; however, it was her willingness to do a little bit of everything that seemed to be a catalyst for the Dream.
“And that’s being aggressive, get to the free throw line, make the extra pass and keep everybody going.”
In the Dream’s two losses this year: Price only averaged 5 points, 1 assist and 4.5 rebounds which seems to validate her honest critique about how she played. Against Phoenix she seemed determined to make up for how she played in those defeats to Indiana in yesterday’s game.
Price was literally everywhere on the court for her team especially early on when both teams seemed to be at an impasse; her selfless approach to the game was clear as she did so many things that one can’t surmise from seeing a box score: diving for loose balls, cutting off passing lanes and being very encouraging to teammates. Every minute that Price was on the floor, she seemed to be involved offensively and defensively for the Dream.
“Joe [Ciampi] has been giving [Price] protein shakes,” said a laughing Meadors.
Her constant energy was infectious as she seemed to give her team the infusion and boost that they needed being that their own star player - Angel McCoughtry - was less than 100% with a knee sprain.
“Hopefully I can keep it up,” said Price.
Well for one night, she did just that for her team.