Dream Vs. Liberty: Atlanta Falls 94-88 To New York In Overtime

The Atlanta Dream begin defense of their 2010 Eastern Conference crown today at 3 p.m. against the New York Liberty. The game will be televised on SportSouth.

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Dream Vs. Liberty Final Score: Atlanta Drops Home Opener 94-88 To New York In Overtime

The Atlanta Dream dropped their season opener to the New York Liberty 94-88 in an exciting affair Wednesday afternoon at Philips Arena. Atlanta was without its leading scorer Angel McCoughtry who sat out the game with an injured left knee. 

The game was close throughout and Atlanta had a chance to seize control in overtime. Sancho Lyttle made two free throws giving the Dream a 76-74 lead with just 33 seconds remaining in the game. On the next possession, Lyttle came up with a steal. New York fouled Atlanta's Lindsey Harding to stop the clock and she headed to the line with a chance to put the game seemingly out of reach. Harding missed the first but made the second giving New York life with the Liberty trailing 77-74 with 18.9 seconds remaining.

After a New York timeout, Nicole Powell hit an off balance three pointer to tie the game at 77-77 with 8.8 seconds remaining. Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors called for time to set up what she hoped would be a final chance for the Dream. The inbounds pass went in to Harding who spun in the lane and nailed a fall away jumper with 3.2 seconds remaining on the clock. 

New York wasn't to be outdone, trailing 79-77 the Liberty's Sidney Spencer took a deflected pass and tied the game with a jumper with just 0.2 on the clock. Atlanta's desperation attempt at the buzzer failed and the game went into overtime. 

The Liberty outscored the Dream 15-9 in the overtime thanks in part to some hot shooting and a couple of blown defensive rotations for Atlanta. The Dream couldn't come up with a stop when they needed to and despite a flurry of quick buckets late in the overtime, fell by a final score of 94-88. 

New York held their own with the talented Atlanta frontcourt winning the rebounding battle 34-32. New York turned the ball over 18 times but shot a red hot 53 percent from the floor. Coach Meadors commented after the game that it wasn't the best defensive performance from her squad who missed McCoughtry at both ends of the floor. 

Of course this game was there to be won and had Atlanta was able to hit on only 18 of 28 attempts from the free throw line with some big misses coming late in the game. 

New York's Plenette Pierson scored a game high 25 points and had 10 rebounds for the Liberty. Nicole Powell had 17 including the back breaking three pointer that tied the game late in the fourth. Cappie Pondexter was held to 12 points on 5-15 shooting but handed out a game high 11 assists in the process. 

Iziane Castro Marques led the Dream with 19 points on 6-16 shooting. Sancho Lyttle recorded a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Coco Miller got the start in McCoughtry's absence and netted 16 points. Armintie Price came off the bench to score 13 points for Atlanta.  

For more on the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA be sure and check out Swish Appeal

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Dream Vs. Liberty Score: Iziane Castro Marques Scores 12, Dream Trail 40-38 At Halftime

Without its leading scorer Angel McCoughtry, the Atlanta Dream rallied late in the first half but trail the New York Liberty 40-38 at halftime. Iziane Castro Marques has done her best to take on more of the scoring load for the Dream scoring 12 points on 4-11 shooting. Sancho Lyttle and Armintie Price each have seven points for Atlanta. 

Plenette Pierson scored eight of her 12 first half points in the second quarter for the Liberty. Nicole Powell has nine and Essence Carson eight for New York. Cappie Pondexter had a quiet first half with four points on 2-5 shooting. 

New York hit on 50 percent of its shots while Atlanta is hovering around 40 percent. Atlanta stayed in the game thanks to turnovers from the Liberty. New York turned the ball over 13 times in the first half leading to 17 points for the Dream who only turned the ball over seven times. 

New York holds an 18-12 rebounding edge thanks in large part to Erika DeSouza playing only three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. The Dream need to look to establish themselves inside at both ends of the court in the second half. 

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Dream Vs. Liberty: Angel McCoughtry Out Of The Lineup With Knee Injury

When the Atlanta Dream took the floor for warm ups prior to their season opener against the New York Liberty, they did so without one of their biggest weapons. All-Star forward Angel McCoughtry remains in street clothes and will miss the game due to a left knee injury that she suffered in practice several weeks ago. McCoughtry sat out the Dream's exhibition opener in Great Britain as well. Officially she is listed as day-to-day on the team injury report. 

Atlanta is no doubt playing it safe with McCoughtry as they can ill-afford to be without her for a long period of time. McCoughtry averaged a team leading 21.1 points per game last season for the Dream. It will take a team effort to try and replace that production but look for Atlanta to lean on their backcourt combination of Lindsey Harding and Iziane Castro Marques.

For more on the WNBA and the Dream be sure and check out Swish Appeal

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Dream Vs. Liberty: Angel McCoughtry, Lindsay Harding Set To Open 2011 Campaign Against New York

The Atlanta Dream will begin their 2011 season today against the New York Liberty at Philips Arena. Prior to tip off today, Atlanta will unveil its 2010 Eastern Conference championship banner that will be raised to the Philips Arena rafters. After the banner raising, the Dream hope to begin their journey to a WNBA championship. 

Atlanta returns all of its major contributors from last season's team. Angel McCoughtry is back and poised to make a run at this season's MVP award. McCoughtry finished last season averaging 21.1 points per game and took her game to another level in the playoffs. McCoughtry combines with running mate Iziane Castro Marques who averaged just under 17 points a game last season to give the Dream a solid one two punch in the scoring department. 

Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza give Atlanta a lot of size and strength on the interior and Allison Bales provides depth off of the bench. The biggest difference in this season's team and last however is at the point guard position. During the off season, Atlanta acquired All-Star guard Lindsey Harding to come in and stabilize the point guard position for the Dream. Harding has career averages of 11 points and four assists per game and adds just another element to the Dream's attack. 

Head coach and general manager Marynell Meadors has assembled an impressive and deep squad that should be in the mix for for the Eastern Conference championship yet again. 

Atlanta's opponent today is a familiar one. The Dream defeated the New York Liberty 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals last season to advance to the WNBA Finals against Seattle. The Liberty return a core that went 21-12 during the regular season in 2010. 

Cappie Pondexter is the focal point of the New York attack leading the team with 21.4 points and 4.9 assists per game last season. Pondexter isn't just a gunner on offense as her 48 percent shooting from the floor suggests. Second leading scorer Taj McWilliams-Franklin bolted during the offseason and leaves a void in the middle. 

Leilani Mitchell also returns for the Liberty after capturing last season's most improved player award. A three-point marksman, Mitchell connected on 48 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc last season. 

Tip off for today's game is scheduled for 3 p.m. today and can be seen on SportSouth. The Championship banner festivities are scheduled to take place before tip off. 

For more on women's basketball, the WNBA, and the Atlanta Dream be sure and check out Swish Appeal. 

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