By C. Coward
The Atlanta Dream announced early Saturday morning that star center Erika de Souza would not be participating in the remainder of the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals due to obligations with the national team of her home country. De Souza is joining Brazil’s national team for the Olympic-qualifying FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Neiva, Columbia.
The FIBA tournament started on Saturday, September 23. Dream player forward-guard Iziane Castro Marques , another member of the Brazilian squad, asked to be excused from national team duties during the tournament and remains in the United States for postseason competition. Brazil faces Paraguay in the preliminary round on Saturday. The last time the two teams faced each other Brazil won 114-61 (August, 13, 2010).
In de Souza’s absence Atlanta must rely on its backup centers and power forwards to pick up the slack in the post. A statistical comparison of the Dream’s post players:
|Regular Season||Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals|
|Player||Height||PPG||RBG||Games Played||Minutes per Game||Blocks PG||Minutes||Efficiency*||Points, Rebounds|
|Erika de Souza||6-5||11.8||7.5||32||27.4||1.3||37||+22||8 pts, 13 rebs|
|Alison Bales||6-7||5.0||4.7||34||20.2||1.6||11||+5||3 pts, 7 rebs|
|Sancho Lyttle||6-4||10||6.3||22||26.2||0.5||32||+12||14 pts, 7 rebs|
* WNBA Efficiency formula = ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) – ((Field Goals Att. – Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. – Free Throws Made) + Turnovers))
For the Fever in game one, starting center Tammy Sutton-Brown had 10 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes while veteran power forward Tangela Smith had a career post-season high of 25 points along with nine rebounds in 36 minutes. Smith’s points included a Fever franchise record five three-point field goals. Backup center Jessica Davenport finished with five points and two rebounds in 12 minutes
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