Dream-Liberty Preview

The Associated Press

Enjoying their best start in three seasons, the undefeated Atlanta Dream haven't had to overcome much adversity thus far.

The New York Liberty, meanwhile, could be in for a long road ahead if Essence Carson is out for an extended period.

The surging Dream go for a home-and-home sweep of the Liberty as these Eastern Conference rivals meet again Sunday in New York.

Holding opponents to a WNBA-low 69.3 points per contest, Atlanta (4-0) kept things going Friday in a 75-56 rout of New York (2-2).

Sancho Lyttle had 18 points and Angel McCoughtry scored 15 to go along with a career high-tying 10 assists and six steals for the Dream, who took a 44-33 lead into halftime and never looked back.

"I thought again we came out in the beginning with a game plan of really trying to establish ourselves on the offensive end with our running," said coach Fred Williams, whose team forced 19 turnovers. "We had 14 steals and some of that created offensive transition."

Atlanta, the only remaining undefeated team in the East, opened a franchise-best 6-0 in 2010.

"I think we have a great chemistry. ... It was just a great team effort," said McCoughtry, averaging team highs of 18.8 points, 5.3 assists and 3.5 steals.

"Everybody was getting steals, playing good defense. I make an effort to pass the ball every night. It was just fortunate that everybody was hitting the shots. It's a compliment to my teammates for their scoring."

While things have been going the Dream's way, the Liberty's outlook doesn't appear nearly as positive.

Besides being outplayed in nearly every facet of Friday's game, New York saw Carson go down with a left knee injury. The sixth-year forward, averaging 14.3 and 5.5 rebounds, had to be carried off the floor after her leg appeared to give way while she attempted a cut.

"It didn't look positive, but I'm not a doctor so we'll wait and see what the doctors have to say," coach Bill Laimbeer said.

Carson's potential absence could prove costly for a Liberty team that already had its hands full against the Dream. Kara Braxton had 14 points but was the only player to score in double figures. All-Star guard Cappie Pondexter leads the team with 14.8 points per game but was limited to six on 2-of-12 shooting.

New York shot just 36.9 percent and was outrebounded 41-35, giving up 14 offensive boards.

"It was the same dilemma we've had for the first few games, turnovers and giving the other team second shots," said Laimbeer, whose team ranks last in the league with 20.8 turnovers per contest. "It came back to haunt us again. We can't win consistently doing that and it caught up to us."

New York could benefit from getting back home, where it's won five straight dating to last season. The Liberty beat both Tulsa on May 31 and defending champion Indiana on Wednesday in overtime.

New York is off to its best home start since opening 4-0 in 2007.

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