The Atlanta Dream wasn't able to sustain their recent success on the road as they fell Sunday afternoon to the New York Liberty 85-78. The loss snaps Atlanta's six-game winning streak and breaks a string of five straight losses for New York.
Plenty of angles to look at it in this one as for a bit it looked like Sunday's game might be a repeat performance of Friday's blowout win for Atlanta. The Dream led 40-29 with 2:45 remaining in the half and looked like they were poised to pull away for good. From that point on the Liberty controlled the pace of the game and Atlanta was back on their heels. New York finished the half with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 40-38 at the intermission.
The Liberty picked right up where they left off in the third quarter. Alex Montgomery scored to give them their first lead of the game at 42-40 with 8:50 remaining in the quarter. They pushed the lead to as many as 12 before Atlanta rallied to close the period trailing 58-54.
New York remained in control in the fourth as every time Atlanta made a move Cappie Pondexter had an answer. Twelve of Pondexter's team-high 23 points came in the fourth quarter as she successfully bounced back from Friday's subpar performance. Angel McCoughtry scored to pull the Dream to within 77-72 with just over a minute remaining but Tina Charles answered with a tough turnaround jumper in the lane on the next possession and New York went on to seal the win at the free throw line.
In Friday's game, the Dream were successful at taking the ball out of the hands of Pondexter and Charles and forced their supporting casts to make plays. That wasn't as effective on Sunday as the Liberty moved well without the basketball and got key contributions from Montgomery as well as Sugar Rodgers and Plenette Pierson off the bench.
The Dream have done a good job of sharing the basketball in the first year under Michael Cooper but they played way too much one-on-one on Sunday especially when things started to slip away in the third quarter. Atlanta finished with just 12 assists for the game which illustrates that one-on-one play well. Erika de Souza scored six of her eight points in the first quarter and simply didn't see enough touches in the second half.
Angel McCoughtry led all scorers with 33 points and 10 rebounds but it was a high usage night as she was just 10-25 from the floor. Sancho Lyttle added 12 points and seven rebounds while Shoni Schimmel added 10 points off the bench.
The Dream will look to bounce back from the loss as they continue their road trip on Thursday in San Antonio.