A Tina Charles basket to open the second half gave the New York Liberty a 50-37 lead over the East-leading Atlanta Dream. However, the Dream (22-10) responded with 21 unanswered points, propelling them to an 86-77 victory.
The Liberty (7-23) had just eight players available for the matchup; Shavonte Zellous, Epiphanny Prince, Marissa Coleman, and Amanda Zahui B were all sidelined nursing injuries.
Rebecca Allen, who logged a season-high 25 minutes, commented on the absence of multiple contributors. “It’s tough that our team has been limited due to injuries, but everyone coming off the bench needs to be aggressive. We all need to step up in our own ways.”
Despite the thin bench, New York started strong, making 58.8 percent of their first half field goal attempts as they built an 11-point advantage. But Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery made seven from deep after the break, a WNBA record for threes in a half, as the Dream stormed back.
“They’ve all been champs about everything the whole season start to finish.” Head Coach Katie Smith said on her limited roster. “I’m proud of them and the way they show up. I am proud of their effort and how hard they play. We just have to get better on lots of little things. We need to take mistakes and improve on them.”
Charles didn’t leave the floor in the matchup, and she finished with a team-high 26 points, including 20 before halftime. It was her third game in a row with at least 20 points, and her 15th such game this season. The veteran chipped in eight rebounds as well.
Coming off a season-high 13 points against the Sparks, Allen picked up where she left off, finishing with 16 points off the bench. Bria Hartley joined Charles and Allen over the 10-point benchmark with 12, while also registering six assists.
Kiah Stokes notched six points and 10 rebounds off the bench. It was her second double-digit rebounding performance in a row, and her third on the season. Brittany Boyd grabbed a career-high nine rebounds to go along with five points and four assists.
The loss continued a nine-game skid for the Liberty. They close out their season with a four-game road trip out west, starting with a matchup against the Los Angeles Sparks. Tip-off is set for 10:30 p.m. (ET) at the Staples Center.
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