Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Dream center Erika de Souza has left the team in the middle of its Eastern Conference finals series against Indiana and has returned to South America to play for her native Brazil in its Olympic qualifying tournament.
The Dream lost the opener of the best-of-three series at Indiana on Thursday and need to win Game 2 on Sunday to stay alive. Game 3 would be Tuesday back in Indianapolis.
De Souza, however, won't likely play in either contest. The FIBA Americas Championship for Women is being played in Colombia and runs from September 24 through October 1. It is a single-elimination tournament and de Souza will return to the Dream once Brazil has completed play. The Brazilians are considered the tournament favorites.
If the Dream can rally against the Fever, de Souza could be back for the start of the WNBA Finals, which begin October 2.
De Souza averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 32 games during the regular season. She has been even better in the playoffs, averaging 12.0 points and 10.7 rebounds.