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.
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