The Atlanta Dream handled the Dallas Wings in the 2019 preseason opener, 82-59. The game was a tale of two teams going in different directions, with the Dream seeming to know who they are and the Wings searching for a new identity.
Here’s what we learned from the contest:
The Dream are still really good.
The Atlanta Dream had six different players hit a three-point shot, while Alex Bentley, Blake Dietrick and Renee Montgomery each made multiple shots from beyond the arc. The Dream forced the Wings into 16 turnovers, blocked 10 shots and held the Wings to 28.6 percent shooting.
The Dream’s intensity was right there from the beginning and never let up, looking every bit the part of a team poised to make the playoffs.
The Dream’s young players are ready to play now.
Gülich played a game-high 24 minutes, scored 10 points and recorded six rebounds. After barely seeing the floor for the Phoenix Mercury in her rookie season, Gülich showed up in her first appearance for the Dream. Gülich has a chance to feature for the Dream if she continues to play this way.
While it is still very early, the trade of Brianna Turner for Gülich appears to have been the right move for Atlanta.
The Dream’s 2019 second round pick, Maite Cazorla, was productive despite playing only 15 minutes. For Cazorla, three was the magic number. Cazorla scored three points and added three assists and three steals, along with three rebounds. Cazorla was known for her defense at Oregon — she was an Honorable Mention on the 2018-19 Pac-12’s All-Defensive Team — and her skills appear to have translated to the pro game.
Despite playing on a guard-heavy roster, Cazorla definitely made the most of her time on the court.
Dallas is looking for a solid five to put on the court.
The Wings spread out the minutes and tried a lot of different combinations last night, with nine players taking the court over a 15-minute span at one point. Without Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith, Dallas is in search of an identity.
Making matters worse, second-year player Azurá Stevens did not play either.
It was an extremely rough game for the entire team. The only bright spot was the Wings’ free-throw shooting, with the team making 16-of-18 shots from the charity stripe. When a team plays this poorly, one can only hope the performance was more of an aberration and not a sign of things to come.
The Wings take the court tonight against the Connecticut Sun, with the hope they can put up a better performance.