Dream look to bounce back against Liberty
After the most lopsided defeat in franchise history, the New York Liberty might relish the chance to get back on the court. Having to play on the Atlanta Dream's floor, though, may not lead to a much better outcome.
The Liberty also were blown out during their most recent visit to Philips Arena, and the Dream could have league scoring leader Angel McCoughtry back from a sprained left knee for Tuesday night's matchup.
New York (3-7) trailed by a WNBA-record 34 points at halftime Friday en route to a 97-55 loss at Connecticut. Essence Carson was the only Liberty player in double figures with 14 points, and leading scorer Cappie Pondexter was held to a season-low six as the team shot 36.5 percent.
"It was embarrassing, frustrating," said Pondexter, who averages 18.7 points. "We just got a lot of work to do, a lot of soul-searching, trying to figure this thing out before it sinks."
It was the second straight loss following a three-game win streak for New York, which is 1-4 on the road.
Pondexter's 18 points led five Liberty players in double digits in a visit to Atlanta on May 25, but the Dream won 100-74 behind McCoughtry's 23 points, seven assists and six steals.
McCoughtry missed Atlanta's latest game, a 75-73 home defeat to the Sun on Sunday.
Her replacement, Tiffany Hayes, scored 11 points - 20 fewer than McCoughtry had in a 92-59 rout of Los Angeles on Friday. Without its future Olympian around Sunday, Atlanta was held to two points over the final 4:17 and allowed Connecticut to take its first lead of the game with 3.1 seconds left.
"If we had to play her today, we could have, but we just thought it would be best if we sat her," coach Marynell Meadors said. "She just needs rest. She will be fine in the next couple of days."
McCoughtry, though, couldn't prevent Atlanta from losing the most recent meeting with the Liberty on June 5 in New York. She had 21 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and seven steals, but the Dream were limited to eight points over the final five minutes of a 79-74 defeat.
Pondexter had a season-high 26 points during that win, part of a four-game run in which she averaged 24.5 points before her dismal performance Friday.
The Dream (4-6) have alternated wins and losses in their last four contests.