Atlanta tops Minnesota in preseason scrimmage; coaches manage minutes of vets and give newcomers ample playing time
Got the job done ? pic.twitter.com/K6qV83e0dk
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) May 1, 2021
In a preseason scrimmage Saturday afternoon, the Atlanta Dream topped the visiting Minnesota Lynx 69-61 at Gateway Center Arena in College Park. The contest began with regular rules in play, but the teams played with alternating possessions in the second half.
Atlanta led after the first half 42-36, with Dream forward Cheyenne Park pacing her team with 12 points plus four rebounds in the two quarters. Coming off the bench, seventh-year guard Odyssey Sims had 12 points in the first half. The Dream signed Sims on March 1.
Sims, Parker, and starting center Elizabeth Williams did not see action in the second half. Atlanta head coach Nicki Collen rotated them out and gave other players, including newcomers more playing time. Aari McDonald, the third overall pick in the draft out of Arizona, tallied nearly 21 minutes overall. She scored 7 points and dished out three assists. Second-year center Kalani Brown and Monique Billings added 6 points each off the bench.
Postgame Collen said she was mindful of managing the minutes of veterans and the multiple players who just had their second vaccine shots. She commented on the condition of players, specifically Chennedy Carter.
“Sometimes you have to learn how to manage your body in the offseason, and some players play overseas, and some players don’t. Because she didn’t really play overseas, she’s got to work herself into shape.”
Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve also kept a few starters on the bench in the second half, including sixth-year forward Damiris Dantas, 13-year veteran Sylvia Fowles, and fifth-year guard Rachel Banham. Forwards Bridget Carleton and Jessica Shephard had ten points each for Minnesota. Shepard missed last season due to a torn ACL.
Reeve said her team had some jitters playing against Atlanta’s really aggressive guards. She commented that Sims looked great, and Atlanta had their way with the Lynx, but “that’s good for us, so we’ve got to figure out how we can handle teams like this.”
Reeve had no update on the status of draftee Rennia Davis who has a stress fracture in her foot. The team announced Saturday that an MRI taken at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis revealed the injury. Per the team, “will be out indefinitely, and further updates as to her progress will be issued when more information becomes available.” In her postgame presser, when discussing Davis’ injury, Reeve said: “it was sort of a situation that developed for her at the end of her college career.” Davis, a graduate of Tennessee, was the ninth overall pick in the WNBA Draft last month.
The Lynx are still without Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride, who are finishing up their season overseas.
Scrimmages and preseason play resume Sunday when Los Angeles visits Las Vegas for a closed scrimmage. The regular season begins May 14. Teams have until May 13 at 5 p.m. ET to cut down their rosters to 12 players.
2021 WNBA Preseason Schedule (as of 4/27/21)
|May 1||Minnesota at Atlanta – Preseason Game||3 p.m.ET||Gateway Center, College Park|
|May 2||Los Angeles at Las Vegas – Closed Scrimmage||12 p.m. PT||Michelob Ultra Arena|
|May 3||New York at Connecticut – Closed scrimmage||TBD||Mohegan Sun|
|May 5||Atlanta at Washington – Closed game||7 p.m. ET||Entertainment and Sports Arena|
|May 8||Washington at Minnesota – Closed game||2 p.m. ET||TBD|
|May 8||Connecticut at Dallas – Closed game||12 p.m. CT||UT Arlington|
|May 8||Las Vegas at Los Angeles – Closed Game||1 p.m. PT||LA Convention Center|
|May 8||Seattle at Phoenix – Preseason game||3 p.m. PT||Phoenix Suns Arena|
|May 9||Chicago at Indiana – Preseason Game||12 p.m. ET||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|May 10||Phoenix at Seattle – Closed scrimmage||TBD||TBD|
|May 11||Indiana at Chicago – Preseason Game||3:30 p.m. CT||Wintrust Arena|
WNBA Season Key Dates
- May 1: Pre-season Games Begin
- May 11: Last Possible Date for Pre-Season Games
- May 13: Final Roster Cut-down Date: 12 players, 5:00 pm EST
- May 14: WNBA Season Begins
- July 11: Last Date for Games before Olympic Break
- July 15-August 11: Olympic Break
- August 15: Second Half Schedule Begins
- August 21: Trade Deadline, 8:00 pm EST
- September 19: Last Day of Regular Season
- September 23: Playoffs Begin
- October 19: Last Possible Finals Date