The Atlanta Dream fell behind early and were unable to climb all the way back in an 82-73 loss to the New York Liberty in their regular season opener at Madison Square Garden.
Many of the things that plagued Atlanta last season were present again in the opener. Mental lapses defensively, suspect shot selection and turnovers proved to be more than the Dream could overcome. The Liberty came out with some sharp execution offensively and quickly built a 30-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
New York continued to pour it on in the second, pushing the lead to as many as 17 points. Tiffany Hayes did her best to keep Atlanta in the game scoring eight of her 17 points in the second and helped the Dream cut the lead to 51-38 at the intermission. Atlanta shot just 29 percent from the field in the second quarter and turned the ball over 12 times in the first half.
The Dream came out much more focused in the third and wasted little time cutting into the Liberty lead. Angel McCoughtry's bucket with 4:22 remaining in the third cut the deficit to 57-53. However, Atlanta would get no closer as New York answered with an 8-0 run and closed the period with a 67-59 lead.
The Liberty pushed the lead to as many as 14 in the fourth before the Dream found enough energy for one more run. A 10-2 Atlanta run cut the deficit to 79-73 with 1:48 remaining. Atlanta missed on a pair of opportunities to cut the lead further and Swin Cash sealed the win with a layup on a nice lead pass from Brittany Boyd.
The Dream shot just 36 percent from the field for the game and turned the ball over 19 times leading to 21 points for the Liberty. New York beat them up inside finishing with a 40-24 advantage in points in the paint.
Angel McCoughtry led the Dream with 27 points and eight rebounds on 8-19 shooting. Hayes added 17 points including three made three pointers while Schimmel added 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
New York shot 48 percent for the game and was led by Tina Charles' 17 points and 12 rebounds. Cash burned her old team with 15 points off the bench while Tanisha Wright and Brittany Boyd finished with 14 points each.
The Dream will look for a better result on Sunday when they host the Connecticut Sun in their home opener at Philips Arena.