By Deitra P. Johnson
Izzie Castro-Marques has been favoring a strained Achilles tendon all season, and instead of maintaining her usual starting position, she has had to play cautiously off the bench.
However, you couldn’t tell with her performance on Sept. 25 in Game 2 of the WNBA best-of-three Eastern Conference final series against the Indiana Fever at Philips Arena; nor in Game 3 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sept. 27.
And Angel McCoughtry, who was second in the league in scoring with 21.6 points per game, was held to a 13.0 point average during the semifinals against Connecticut and Game 1 against the Fever. Blame it on the stars or that thing that just happens to the best of athletes at some point, but she struggled to find her mark in the first four games of post-season play after closing out the regular season magnificently.
The pair had been dubbed the ‘Dynamic Duo’ last season by being the driving force behind Atlanta’s offensive attack. They complemented each other game after game while giving a one-two punch to the offense and leading the franchise to the best turnaround record in league history – not to mention advancement into last year’s Finals.
That had been all but forgotten until recently, particularly since the Dream had such a poor start to the season. Add several temporary departures along the way and a couple of costly injuries, the team was struggling to stay alive.
But that all changed last week.
The superheroes heard the call and came to the rescue in a must-win game last Friday in Atlanta to combine for more than half of their team’s total points.
Meadors decided to go with a smaller, faster lineup, and inserted Castro-Marques back into the starting lineup. The departure of starting center Erika DeSouza to join the Brazilian national team was also a factor.
That decision may have been the end to Indiana’s threat. Not only did forced turnovers by pesky Atlanta team