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Dream take on conference rival Liberty July 13: Fan preview
The Atlanta Dream have only been around in the WNBA for four seasons, so it is difficult to pinpoint who their rival would be. However, the New York Liberty would have to be one of the top answers if you had to pick one due to last year's postseason matchup, and the intensity seen in the games played thus far this season. This Wednesday, July 13 at 12 p.m. the Dream will take on the Liberty for the forth time this season with the Dream leading the season series 2-1.
Last year's Eastern Conference Championship ended with the Dream sweeping the Liberty even though New York was heavily favored to take the series when it began. In game 2 in Atlanta Angel McCoughtry wrapped up the series putting up a league record 42 points.
This season has started horrendously for the Dream as they have a 3-8 record earning a seat in the dreaded fifth spot in the East, which locks them out of a playoff spot. However, Atlanta has played their best basketball against New York so far earning two of their three wins against the Liberty.
The key to their two victories have been limiting the damage of their star guard Cappie Pondexter and other potent Liberty shooters'"something they haven't done with other opponents. In the June 14 win in New York Pondexter put a meager 7 points as the Liberty were routed 79-58. Pondexter has been spectacular since that horrid game against the Dream, including the June 30 game at Atlanta where she put up a season high 24 points. Nevertheless, the Dream limited the damage rallying in the second half to grab an 87-81 victory.
In order for the Dream to notch their third win against New York they'll need to contain Pondexter and the rest of the three-point shooters. They'll also need to clear the lanes so they can drive to the basket utilizing their speed. The Dream lack a pure three-point shooter, so they'll need to dominate the transition game as they have done in both wins against New York.
No matter how any two teams look on paper, rivalries make facts futile as the intensity fuels the competition. This newly developed rivalry will be fun to watch play out for years to come.
Charles McGregor is a member of the southeast and has been an Atlanta Dream fan since their inception into the WNBA.
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