The Rundown: Chicago Sky

Dream return home for the second game of the season after dropping the opener to Connecticut.

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (virtually) — After four days away from the spotlight, the Atlanta Dream are back in Gateway Center Arena for their second game against the Chicago Sky.

Atlanta enters Wednesday’s game after a 78-67 season-opening loss to the Connecticut Sun.

Let’s take a peek. Welcome to a guard-heavy version of The Rundown.

Location: Gateway Center Arena

Time: 7 p.m.

How to watch: Facebook

Uniform: Heroine (white)

Starting lineup: Chennedy Carter, Tiffany Hayes, Courtney Williams, Tianna Hawkins and Elizabeth Williams

Odds: Chicago -5

Announcers: Angel Gray (play-by-play), LaChina Robinson (color)

Full go for Tiffany Hayes

Over 600 days have passed since Tiffany Hayes has worn an Atlanta uniform. That changed on Wednesday afternoon once the franchise guard entered the arena with some style and sporting her championship-winning jersey with Perfumerias Avenidas.

Hayes returns to Atlanta after opting out of the 2019 season, an opportunity that the 10-year guard enjoyed and cherished. She got time with her family and a moment to rest after playing nearly a decade of year-round basketball.

She returned to practice and “hadn’t missed a beat,” Atlanta interim head coach Mike Petersen said. Against the Sky, Hayes’ workload will reflect that sentiment.

Hayes averaged 14.7 points per game in 2019 with the Dream.

“Tiffany is not on any minutes restriction,” Petersen said. “If she doesn’t get tired or in foul trouble, all of them are in play. Tiff’s in shape. She knows what we’re doing. She’s ready to go. She’ll play as if she has been here the entire time.”

Odyssey Sims to enter early off of bench

Odyssey Sims tied for the team lead with 14 points in the loss to Connecticut. A few days later, the former All-Star is out of the starting lineup.

It’s not anything against Sims. Atlanta doesn’t plan to use her any differently. Instead, it’s the biggest luxury that the Dream have moving forward. The return of Hayes puts Petersen in an advantageous spot to mix-and-match his starting guards. It might not be the same from game-to-game.

Once the time comes for a substitution, however, Atlanta can turn to its bench and find a spark, regardless of whom it might be. It’ll be Sims against the Sky, and Petersen hopes for a repeat in her productivity.

“She will come in early, and play like she did in the last game,” he said. “We get to sub out of positivity.”

Can Chennedy Carter bounce back?

Chennedy Carter spoke to reporters on Monday and didn't seem fazed.

She knew that a 10-point performance didn’t match the standard for a guard who averaged 17.4 points per game as a rookie. Atlanta depends on Carter for a lot, including her scoring abilities and as a catalyst to dictate pace.

Carter expects more in her second game of the season, and the Dream will need it to beat Chicago — laden with star-caliber guards, including Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley.

“It’s always important that she’s always in attack mode in transition,” Petersen said. “Chennedy has it as much, if not more, than anyone. It’s always important for her to be aggressive.”