Game Preview: Dream vs. Liberty 06/11/08

Atlanta vs. New York

The Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty face off tonight at 7:00 pm at Philips Arena. This is the first matchup between the two teams.

With center Erika De Souza(lower leg fracture) and guard Iziane Castro Marques (in Brazil for Olympic qualifying tournament) missing games, the Dream have mixed up their lineup. Betty Lennox continues to be the team’s go-to scorer, but the Dream’s depth has been on display in recent games with numerous players stepping up to make contributions.

Forward Jennifer Lacy is coming off her best season in Dream uniform, recording the first double-double of her career with 18 points and ten rebounds. Betty Lennox added 17 points for the Dream and has scored in double figures in all but one game (vs. Los Angeles on May 25) this season. Point guard Ivory Latta continued her aggressiveness on offense, scoring 13 points. Latta is currently among the league leaders in assists per game.

The Liberty are led by guard Shameka Christon, guard Loree Moore and center Janel McCarville. Christon enters her fifth season in the league and has seen her numbers steadily increase each year. She averaged 11.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year. Point guard Loree Moore had the best season of her career in 2007, averaging 9.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. McCarville, the top pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft, averaged 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 2007, earning WNBA Most Improved Player honors.

New York is coming off a 70-63 loss to the Sacramento Monarchs on Sunday, June 8. Guard Lisa Willis led New York with 11 points off the bench. Loree Moore did not play in the game due to an injury. Shameka Christon is leading the Liberty in scoring, averaging 14.9 points per game. Joining Christon are two young talents in forward Cathrine Kraayeveld (10 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and center Janel McCarville (8 ppg, 4 rpg).

Tonight’s matchup will pit former collegiate teammates against each other. New York’s Erlana Larkins was a collegiate teammate of Ivory Latta and Camille Little at the University of North Carolina where they lead the Tar Heels to back-to-back Final Four appearances. Ann Strother and Liberty guard Ashley Battle won two national titles together at the University of Connecticut.

The Dream’s next game is Friday, June 13 vs. the Indiana Fever. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm at Philips Arena. Friday’s game is “Dads and Daughters Night” at the arena with discounted ticket packages available by calling 404.604.2626.