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Liberty-Dream Preview

AP - Sports

The lone blemish to the Atlanta Dream's stellar start was a loss to the New York Liberty in early June.

They've been mired in a tailspin since the end of that month, though.

Atlanta hopes a return home helps it get back on track as it hosts the up-and-down Liberty on Sunday night.

The Dream (11-7) appeared to be the class of the WNBA after beginning the season 10-1, but they've dropped six of seven since the beginning of July and have fallen 1 1/2 games behind Chicago for the Eastern Conference lead.

Atlanta, though, has been without Sancho Lyttle, who suffered a fractured left foot in a 94-72 loss to Minnesota on July 9 that began the slump. She's expected to miss at least another two weeks after having surgery.

Each of the Dream's defeats have come on the road, including Saturday's 80-66 loss to Indiana. Angel McCoughtry, the league's second-leading scorer, netted a team-high 17 points.

Coach Fred Williams wasn't making excuses but noted his gameplan couldn't be utilized after Indiana All-Star Shavante Zellous was scratched before the game due to a foot injury.

''It changed our plans a little because we worked on penetration,'' Williams said. ''Now, you drive and kick, with a shooter outside, it changes plans at the last minute.''

Atlanta, though, is the league's only unbeaten home team at 8-0 and posted a 75-56 win over the Liberty on June 7 as McCoughtry finished with 15 points and 10 assists.

McCoughtry had another 15 points but shot only 4 of 16 from the field two days later in a 76-67 defeat at New York that marked the Dream's only loss until their current slump.

New York (9-13) will need another solid effort to ruin Atlanta's perfect home mark, though it's coming off an 85-67 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. The Liberty have split their last six games, alternating wins and losses.

Cappie Pondexter scored a game-high 22 points and hit 7 of 15 from the field, but she also committed a team-worst four turnovers.

"We're just too inconsistent right now," Pondexter said. "You never know what team you're going to get.''

That's also a good assessment of how she and New York have played against Atlanta this season. The Liberty finished with 19 turnovers while being routed in the first meeting as Pondexter went 2 for 12 from the field and scored a season-worst six points.

She helped New York bounce back in the second matchup with 17 points and six assists.

The Liberty have won three of the last four versus the Dream.

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