ATLANTA, GA. – JULY 12, 2015 – The New York Liberty had its three-game winning streak snapped with an 84-76 loss against the Atlanta Dream on Sunday afternoon at Philips Arena.
The Liberty trailed by as many as 19 points early in the second half, managed to come all the way back to take a two-point lead in the fourth quarter, but never extended its advantage past that point. Atlanta scored nine of the game’s final 11 points to seal the win.
Tina Charles continued her impressive stretch, topping 20 points for the third-straight game, finishing with 22 to go along with seven rebounds. Epiphanny Prince made her first start for New York and tallied 14 points, all in the second half, seven in each quarter.
The Dream surged to that 19 point lead early in the third quarter, hitting three long balls in a row to make it 53-34. After the third three by Tiffany Hayes at the 8:02 minute mark, New York outscored Atlanta 23-7 over the rest of the period as the Dream shot just 2-of-8 the rest of the way while committing seven turnovers.
Angel McCoughtry was responsible for the first two of those long-range buckets, six of her game-high 32 points, the most for an individual against New York this season.
Brittany Boyd was a big reason for the Liberty’s third quarter comeback. She had eight points including a three with six minutes to go to cut the lead to 14 and a crafty layup to pull the Liberty within eight points for its first single-digit deficit of the second half with 2:22 to play in the period.
Prince took over in the beginning of the fourth quarter. She hit Carolyn Swords for a lay in and then followed up with a pull up jumper in the paint to pull New York within three points at 64-61. With 5:47 to go, Tanisha Wright found Tina Charles for the hook shot and foul to give the Liberty the lead for the first time in the second half. After that, Atlanta outscored New York 17-7, and regained the lead for good.
The final minutes saw a series of momentum shifts. Prince hit a 3-pointer to trim the Atlanta lead down to one with 3:15 to go in the game, but Roneeka Hodges gave Atlanta one right back 30 seconds later.
Down just two with 85 seconds remaining, Prince continued to dictate the action, slicing through the lane to dish off to a wide open Wright in the corner. She pulled the trigger on a 3-pointer that would have put New York back in front, but it rimmed out and Sydney Carter nailed a jumper on the other end.
New York was hampered by its inability to take care of the basketball in the first quarter. Despite shooting 7-of-12 (58.3 percent), the Liberty turned it over seven times, leading to nine Dream points the other way.
Early foul trouble contributed to that early deficit, which reached as high as seven points, with Prince picking up two quick fouls and Kiah Stokes whistled for three over the first 10 minutes.
Charles was off to a hot start, hitting her first three attempts from the field to score six of New York’s first 10 points, and by the end of the first half she had a game-high 12, but it was not enough to overcome Atlanta’s balance.
The Dream were able to stretch that lead out to 12 points by intermission, as New York shot just 5-of-17 in the second quarter, and was unable to come up with enough defensive stops to disrupt Atlanta’s momentum.
After Wright converted a 3-point play to make it 27-24, Angel McCoughtry was able to get to the line, and then Sydney Carter hit a trey from the left side to stretch the lead back to 31-24. Another Wright bucket, a pull-up jumper at 5:21 was once again answered quickly, with Erica DeSouza driving to the basket on the other end to make it a three-possession game.
New York returns to Madison Square Garden for a pair of home games this week. The Liberty host the San Antonio Stars for camp day on Wednesday, July 15, with an 11 a.m. tipoff. New York is right back in action Thursday night, as it hosts the Connecticut Sun at 7 p.m.
New York Liberty Postgame Notes
• New York had its 3-game winning streak snapped and had won five straight over Atlanta dating back to last season.
• After trailing 53-34 early in the third quarter, New York went on a 23-7 run to end the quarter, and went up by two in the fourth quarter on a Tina Charles 3-point play, but never extended the lead past that.
• Tina Charles led New York in scoring for the third-straight game, with 22 points, and it was her 3rd straight with over 20 points.
• Atlanta shot 47.3 percent from the field (26-55) the highest field goal percentage against NY this season. NY entered the game holding opponents to a league best 36.4 percent, which included limiting the Dream to 29.7 from the field back on June 21.
• Atlanta was the first team to top 40 percent against New York since Indiana on June 19.
• Epiphanny Prince made her first start in a New York uniform and finished with 14 points, all in the second half. She is averaging 13.0 ppg in two games this season.
• Sugar Rodgers had her streak of seven-straight games in double figures come to an end.
• Angel McCoughtry’s 32 points were the most for an individual against New York this season.
• Continuing season-long trends, New York had a 29-16 advantage in bench scoring an 36-24 in the paint.