- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - Lindsey Harding says it didn’t take long for her to see Atlanta’s players are hungry for another run at a championship after being swept by Seattle in last season’s WNBA finals.

Harding joined the Dream in an offseason trade with Washington.

“They’re not satisfied,” Harding said Monday. “They feel like the job was incomplete.

“Everyone has that fire and they’re energized and they have the confidence in me to come in and help them get back.”

In the franchise’s third season, Atlanta was a surprise last season by emerging from the Eastern Conference.

Coach Marynell Meadors said it may be more difficult to return to the finals, even with Harding added to the roster. She said she expects the Dream to be picked as the team to beat in the conference.

“Well, we’re going to find out because that’s what they’re saying,” Meadors said. “It’s a lot harder to repeat what you did last year.”

The Dream acquired Harding from Washington in a draft-day trade that sent guard Kelly Miller and Atlanta’s first-round pick, Ta’Shia Phillips, to the Mystics.

Lindsey brings speed and quickness to that position, plus she can score,” Meadors said. “I think one of the things we really needed to address was our point guard position needed to be able to score.”

Harding, from Duke, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 WNBA draft. She averaged 12.1 points and 4.0 assists with Washington last year and also is regarded as one of the league’s top defenders.

Harding said she is enjoying Meadors‘ up-tempo style in her first week of practice with the Dream.

“I love the style of play,” Harding said. “I love the up and down and the up-tempo defense. It’s tiring, but it just makes you better.”

Top scorer Angel McCoughtry said Harding has made a smooth transition.

“She’s already done that,” McCoughtry said. “That was easy for her.”

Meadors will be an assistant on the U.S. Olympics team, and McCoughtry and Harding are among the players being considered for spots on the team.

The Dream will leave Atlanta Wednesday to spend five days in Manchester, England for a game on Sunday against the British national team.

“It’s the first time any WNBA team has gone over there and we were selected, so we’re excited about that,” Meadors said. “It’ll give us a chance to bond a little bit because this will be our one and only preseason game.”

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