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Postgame Notes: Atlanta 78, Minnesota 75

August 23, 2020 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Atlanta Dream News Release

Atlanta Notes

- Atlanta's record against Minnesota improves to 9-20 all-time.

- The Dream started Courtney Williams, Betnijah Laney, Shekinna Stricklen, Monique Billings and Elizabeth Williams for the second straight game.

- Two Dream players recorded a double-double - Monique Billings (16 points/13 rebounds) and Betnijah Laney (16 points/10 rebounds).

o The last time two Dream players recorded a double-double in the same game was on July 25, 2017 (Layshia Clarendon and Brittney Sykes).

- Betnijah Laney continued her impressive season by finishing with her second straight double-double - the first two of her career.

o Her 16 points marked her 12th double-digit effort of 2020.

o Her 10 assists marked her second double-digit assist effort.

o She also tied a season-high with eight rebounds.

- Monique Billings' 16 points marked her fifth game in double figures and fourth in the last five games.

o She also tallied a career-best three steals.

o Her 13 rebounds marked her fourth double-digit effort of the season.

o She now has three double-doubles in 2020 and four for her career.

- Courtney Williams recorded 14 points, her ninth double-digit effort of the season.

- Blake Dietrick recorded her fourth double-figure scoring outing of the season with 13 points.

o Prior to 2020, she had only seen one double-digit game.

- With Shekinna Stricklen's two three-pointers made, she now has 446 in her career.

- Atlanta scored a season-high 27 points in the third quarter, which led to the team's first lead of today's game.

- Today's win snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Dream.

Atlanta Quotes

Head Coach Nicki Collen

On Blake Dietrick's performance...

"She made shots. For the most part, she didn't turn the basketball over. She got us into actions faster. Courtney [Williams'] always searching shot, which she should, because that's what she's best at. Sometimes, Blake [Dietrick], her only trouble with the point is because people play her so soft at times, she doesn't take shots that are there. She did a good job tonight just initiating offense and then spacing away and knocking open shots down. She was a huge part of our bench production, obviously scoring 13 points, but it was timely three's tonight. I thought between Blake's bench play and Mo's [Monique Billings] second half activity that that was the difference in the game."

On what the biggest key for the Atlanta Dream is in order to be a contender for the playoffs...

"It's pretty simple. I think we've figured out how to move the basketball. It's defend, rebound, and take care of it. It sounds so simple. It's not. I mean, we're at the point where we're down to everyone's a second game, where we have to make adjustments based on the first game. Where were we good? Where were we not good? Are we dialed in? Then we just have to have that toughness factor, because if you guard people, you give them one shot and you take care of it, you're gonna put yourself in a situation where you can win a basketball game. Are you gonna win them all? No, but this team, they really stepped up to the challenge, because I'm sure if people were around, they heard me at halftime. There was absolutely zero, "this is what we're running", "here's what we're doing." It was simply, I can't throw the playbook away because you don't want to get open. Getting open is a want to problem. There are no excuses, so it's simple things like that. Taking care of the basketball, getting open, and letting people have one shot. When we did that in the second half, we climbed back into the game, we continued to move the basketball, and then we're gonna compete. I mean, I'm all about just competing and putting a team out on the floor that wants to compete day in and day out."

Guard Blake Dietrick (#11)

On Nicki Collen's halftime speech...

"She gave it to us. She got into us, but rightly so. She said we aren't playing with any toughness. We knew that Minnesota's a really, really physical team, and they want to come out and pressure you and make things difficult. We kind of took it on the nose in the first half, but then I think in the second half we were really aggressive, we were punching back, and we were making things difficult for them. That's when the tide turned for us."

On what the most important thing is for the team to focus on going forward...

"I think we just need to keep moving the ball and playing as a team. I think when the ball sticks, and I'm guessing Nicki's probably said this already, when the ball sticks and doesn't move laterally and in transition we don't play very well. When we are moving the ball quickly, when the ball has energy -- that's what coach says, the ball has energy -- we play really well and we play really well in transition. Resting so we can run. Then moving the ball and playing together as a team."

Forward Monique Billings (#25)

On if out-rebounding the Lynx was one of the biggest keys tonight, and if it will be a big key going forward...

"Absolutely. I mean Minnesota is the number one offensive rebounding team in the league, so that was our emphasis to get them off the boards. We didn't execute in the first half, so that was a point of emphasis for the second half. It's definitely important to get on the board in order to secure the win."

On how the team is using their games as practice and their progression as a team...

"We're finding our flow. We're learning each other. We're figuring each other out. We had a couple of people who weren't in training camp because of COVID. It's just been a sped-up process, so we've had to learn on the fly. We're still figuring it out, but every single game it definitely feels a lot better."

Guard-Forward Betnijah Laney (#44)

On her energy in tonight's game...

"I just went out there and played. I try to come out with the same energy every game, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in playing every other day. My recovery, everything that I do, has been way more than I've ever done in my life. So, just trying to stay ready, doing everything that I have to do off the court so I can be ready on the court. Just bringing the energy that I can on both ends."

On Blake Dietrick's energy off the bench and how she contributed to the win...

"She comes in off the bench, and she just gives us that spark on both ends as well. She's aggressive. She gets up into the offense. On offense, she just gives us that spark, whether it's those corner three's or getting in there and getting to the rim. She's been great for us off the bench."

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