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New York Liberty Dominate Atlanta Dream 78-61, Winning Streak Continues

In a decisive display of skill and teamwork, the New York Liberty triumphed over the Atlanta Dream with a 78-61 victory on Thursday night, marking their fifth consecutive win. Led by Breanna Stewart’s stellar performance, the Liberty showcased their dominance despite being short-handed.

Stewart was a powerhouse, scoring 25 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out five assists. Her all-around excellence set the tone for New York, which now boasts an impressive 10-2 record. The game was tightly contested in the first half, with New York leading 38-32. Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu were key contributors, combining for 22 of those points. Ionescu’s first-quarter 3-pointer was particularly noteworthy, extending her streak of at least one 3-pointer in 36 consecutive games, surpassing the previous franchise record held by Shameka Christon.

Sabrina Ionescu with a slick lay up
Sabrina Ionescu with the slick move to get the lay up. Photography by Patrick MacCoon, Chattanooga Times

As the second half unfolded, New York's resilience became increasingly apparent. Betnijah Laney-Hamilton and Leonie Fiebich hit crucial back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, pushing the Liberty's lead to 61-51. This surge was followed by successful baskets from Stewart and Jonquel Jones, expanding their lead to 13 points. From that moment on, New York maintained a double-digit advantage, effectively sealing the game.

Laney-Hamilton contributed significantly with 15 points, while Jones and Ionescu each added 10 points. Jonquel Jones' efforts in the paint and Ionescu's playmaking were instrumental in maintaining the Liberty's offensive momentum. New York's depth and ability to step up in the absence of starting point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who missed the game for personal reasons, further highlighted their resilience.

Breanna Stewart mid range
Breanna Stewart pulls up mid paint for an easy two. Photography by Patrick MacCoon, Chattanooga Times

For Atlanta, Allisha Gray led with 16 points, while Aerial Powers and Rhyne Howard added 13 and 11 points, respectively. Despite these efforts, the Dream struggled with their shooting, managing only 29% from the field in the first half. This poor shooting performance hindered their ability to keep pace with the Liberty’s efficient offense. The Liberty's defense was another key factor in their victory. They effectively shut down Atlanta's scoring opportunities, forcing the Dream to take difficult shots and limiting their overall offensive output. This defensive pressure, combined with their balanced scoring attack, underscores why New York is emerging as a formidable force in the league this season.

Rhyne Howard going to the bucket.
Rhyne Howard looks to drive left around her defender. Photography by: Patrick MacCoon, Chattanooga Times.

As the Dream prepare to challenge the rest of the league, their confidence will only be buoyed by strong performances. Maintaining their current form and leveraging their depth will be crucial. In summary, Atlanta not only has to pick up the pace after starting 4-4, but also showcase the team's depth and resilience. The rest of the league isn't getting easier with every opponent getting better. The Atlanta Dream will have to use this as a stepping stone for the rest of the season. Take what they learned from this loss and build on it.


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