The New York Liberty needed a little extra effort to give coach Bill Laimbeer his first consecutive wins with the franchise. To keep that run going, the Liberty will have to get past one of the two unbeaten teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Atlanta Dream look to improve to 4-0 on Friday night when they open a home-and-home series against Laimbeer's New York squad, which will try to match its longest win streak from 2012.
After dropping its season opener, New York has won its past two games in overtime after outscoring visiting Indiana 14-7 in the extra period Wednesday for a 75-68 victory. Essence Carson led the way with 21 points, and Alex Montgomery had six of her 13 in overtime.
"I'm almost completely gray now after the last two games," Laimbeer said. "We're learning, learning about confidence in ourselves. So I guess if you're going to go overtime and win, that's a positive."
New York's next opponent hasn't come close to playing an extra period, winning its first three games by an average of 12.0 points. Angel McCoughtry shook off a rough first half Sunday in Washington and scored 12 of her team-best 15 points after the break in a 73-63 victory.
"We were just playing and trying to get our rhythm,'' McCoughtry said of the slow start. "We'll get it, it's early.''
Despite shooting a season-worst 39.1 percent, the Dream had four other players score in double figures as they moved a step closer to matching their franchise-best 6-0 start in 2010. Atlanta made the first of its back-to-back WNBA finals appearances that season but was eliminated in the opening round by Indiana in 2012.
Chicago is the only other team that's started this season 3-0.
"We're so talented all the way down to the end of our bench," McCoughtry said.
The Dream have split their last 14 regular-season matchups with New York and went 2-2 against the Liberty last season, with each team winning one home and one away game.
The teams have also split their last four games in Atlanta.
New York won 73-60 in its most recent visit to Philips Arena on June 19, a game McCoughtry missed due to a strained left knee ligament. McCoughtry averaged 22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.7 steals in the three games she played against the Liberty in 2012.
The Liberty and Dream will meet again Sunday at the Prudential Center.