(Photo: Michael Clevenger/The Courier-Journal)
ATLANTA – Erika de Souza and Tiffany Hayes scored 21 points each to lead the Atlanta Dream to a 110-67 victory over the Chinese National Women’s Olympic Basketball Team Sunday in a preseason scrimmage at North Atlanta High School. The scrimmage was the final tune-up for the Dream prior to Friday’s season opener at New York.
Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla) added 15 points on five three-point baskets and Aneika Henry had 11 points as the Dream led from start to finish.
“I thought today’s game was a good stepping stone for us as far as getting ready for the season opener against New York,” said head coach Michael Cooper. “I thought our first unit had chemistry, and the foundation of what we’re about is that core group.”
Hayes and de Souza combined to score the game’s first 10 points, but China rallied to cut the deficit to 21-19 by the end of the first quarter.
Schimmel hit three triples during the second period as the Dream outscored China 28-16 to take a 49-35 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Dream blew the game wide open in the third quarter, scoring a whopping 42 points to just 13 for China to push the lead to 91-48. Hayes outscored the opposition by herself in the period, collecting 15 of her 21 points.
The scoring pace slowed in the fourth quarter with the game well at hand as the Dream cruised to the victory.
“I think the difference between us now and this time last year is the depth on our bench,” said Cooper. “We have some good players that can come in and contribute, and we can change the dynamics of the game with our second group.
Atlanta will open the 2015 season Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET against the New York Liberty before playing its home opener next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET against the Connecticut Sun.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NDNSports.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.