For the first time in the 2022 WNBA season, Aari McDonald and the Atlanta Dream came to Phoenix. McDonald and her team faced off against Sam Thomas’ Phoenix Mercury for the second time this year, but it was the first opportunity for the Arizona fans to be in attendance to watch the two former Wildcats on the court.
The two teams are going in opposite directions right now. Phoenix started out slow this season but is now a winner of three straight. Atlanta did things just the opposite. After a strong start to the season, the Dream have dropped the last two and are losers of three of the last four.
One of Atlanta’s losses came in Phoenix in a tightly-contested game that ended 90-88. Both McDonald and Thomas saw some game action. The two will see each other again in Phoenix on July 17.
Aari McDonald and the Atlanta Dream
The Dream are now 7-6 after their loss to the Mercury. They also dropped a game to the Seattle Storm this week. The team still stands sixth in the overall league standings and fourth in the Eastern Conference.
McDonald played more than 30 minutes in each of the Dream’s games this week, averaging 35 minutes per game. Starting point guard Erica Wheeler sustained an injury early in the team’s first game of the week, so McDonald saw both an increase in time on the court and her first start of the season.
Against the Storm, she played 31 minutes and went 3-10 from the field while coming off the bench. Wheeler played only three minutes, so McDonald saw considerably more time than her season average of 25.6 MPG. She added two rebounds, three assists, and two steals to her seven points, but the team came up far short in a 72-60 loss.
McDonald got her first start of the 2022 season against the Mercury and played a game-high 39 minutes. She wrapped up the night 6-12 from the field with 13 points. She also had four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Most importantly, she did it all without turning over the ball in what was a close loss.
Next week, the Dream will try to get back on the winning track, but it’s going to be a tough ask. They will be facing Connecticut Sun on Wed., June 15. The Sun currently sit in second in the overall league standings and lead the Eastern Conference.
Things don’t get much easier on Fri., June 17 when Atlanta goes to Chicago to face the defending champions. The Sky are currently third in the overall standings and second in the Eastern Conference.
Sam Thomas and the Phoenix Mercury
The Mercury have improved to 5-8 and currently occupy what would be the final playoff spot if the season ended now. Their current three-game winning streak put an end to a seven-game losing streak.
Thomas has seen little action of late, but she did get some early time against the Dream. She played four minutes when her former teammate was in town and accounted for one assist.
Still seems surreal that Sam Thomas was in an Arizona huddle like this only three months ago and now she is in one with Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles with the Mercury. pic.twitter.com/anTOqE5hvl
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 11, 2022
In addition to the win over the Dream, the Mercury also pulled out an overtime win against the Washington Mystics on Sunday. They will try to do it again on Tues., June 14 as they face the Mystics in D.C. for the second straight game. After that, they travel to Indiana on Wed., June 15 to play the Fever, then go to Dallas to take on the Wings on Fri., June 17.