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Jun 5, 2024 9:40 pm

Liberty take on Dream in search of 5th straight win

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On the heels of a dominant performance from Breanna Stewart, the New York Liberty will go for their fifth straight win on Thursday night when they face the host Atlanta Dream.

Stewart went for 33 points and 14 rebounds as New York (8-2) downed the Chicago Sky 88-75 on Tuesday night. With the victory, the Liberty improved to 2-0 in Commissioner’s Cup games.

New York managed to pull away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Chicago 23-9 by holding the Sky to 12.5 percent shooting from the field in the period. The Liberty will be trying to bring that same defensive intensity on Thursday.

“Our zone really helped us (in the fourth quarter),” New York coach Sandy Brondello said. “We contained (the posts) well when we changed the defense. And when we can score, we can help the defense get set.”

Entering Wednesday’s play, New York (86.3 points per game) only trails the Las Vegas Aces (86.5 points) and Minnesota Lynx (86.4) for the league lead in scoring average. Stewart has been a big reason why the Liberty have had so much success on offense, as has Sabrina Ionescu, who had 24 points against Chicago.

“I want to be aggressive,” Stewart said. “From the start of the season to now, I wasn’t as aggressive as I should’ve been, so (I’m trying to) set the tone. … When me and Sab are in actions, it puts a lot of pressure on teams.”

Stewart is averaging 19.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, while Ionescu adds averages of 17.9 points and 5.3 assists.

As for Atlanta (4-3), things appeared to be heading in the right direction following a 78-74 win over Las Vegas last Friday, the Dream’s second straight victory. However, Atlanta stumbled to a 69-50 setback against the Connecticut Sun two days later.

With 12 points, Tina Charles was the only scorer in double figures for the Dream, who were outscored 40-26 over the middle two quarters. Atlanta shot just 28.4 percent from the floor and 18.8 percent from long range, but Dream coach Tanisha Wright still believes better days are ahead.

“I feel like we’re a much better team than what we showed (Sunday),” Wright said. “I think we let our offense dictate our defense at times and I thought it killed our confidence. … We missed some easy shots. We were getting great looks.”

Rhyne Howard is leading Atlanta with 16.4 points per game this season, while Allisha Gray averages 16.3 points.

–Field Level Media

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