Liberty Visit Atlanta Dream

The Liberty (2-1) are back on the road for a stop in Atlanta versus the Dream this Friday, June 7th, at 7:30 pm. The Liberty come off of two back-to-back wins in overtime, the latest victory realized over the defending champions, the Indiana Fever, 75-68. Essence Carson is blossoming into a big time scoring threat maximizing mismatches in the post and using her athleticism and body control to spin through defenders for layups. She led the Liberty with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Cappie Pondexter appeared to struggle at various points of the game, but came through with timely and important shots for New York down the stretch. She finished with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Alex Montgomery came off the bench to spark the team with defensive plays, layups in transition, and heads-up plays around the rim. The third year player scored 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. Guards led the way for the Liberty in what began as a hopeless looking effort for New York. The Liberty were down 14 by the end of the first quarter before slowly clawing their way back into the game for a character win. They made 24 of 29 free throw attempts and outrebounded Indiana 33-30. Plenette Pierson had to leave the game after what looked like a knock to the head by teammate Kara Braxton. Down the stretch veteran Katie Smith made her presence felt with tough defense on Indiana’s all-star Tamika Catchings. The Liberty held the Fever to just 8 points in the fourth quarter.

The Atlanta Dream (3-0) are coming off of a 73-63 win over the Washington Mystics last Sunday. Guard/forward Angel McCoughtry led her team with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Sancho Lyttle added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Atlanta boasted a balanced attack with 5 players scoring in double figures. Depth is a strength of Atlanta’s. Through three games they have seven players averaging over 5 points per game and five players averaging double digits. They have athleticism and speed at the perimeter with Jasmine Thomas, Armintie Herrington (formerly Price), Tiffany Hayes, and Alex Bentley. Their offense revolves around Angel McCoughtry, one of the top scorers in the league. The players putting in work in the paint for Atlanta are Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza.

Keys To The Game:
Pondexter be aggressive, early.
The Liberty are better when Cappie Pondexter is being aggressive on offense. While it is good to see her utilize patience and facilitate for her teammates, the Liberty don’t want her to forget about her biggest strength, being an offensive threat. She needs to pick her moments, play in rhythm and find a balance. While this is easier said than done, it is something Cappie should look to adjust as she gets familiar with her new role in Laimbeer’s offense.

Guards step up.
Plenette Pierson had to leave the Indiana game with an injury, Cheryl Ford is hopeful to return to the court soon, and Kelsey Bone is a rookie. The Liberty front line is limited at the moment. Until players bounce back from injury and young players mature, guards will have more pressure on them to play big. So far they have risen to the occasion with points (Alex Montgomery), or rebounds (Essence Carson), or interior defense (Katie Smith).

Where to watch: The game is available on WNBA Live Access.

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