Liberty-Dream Preview

The Associated Press

The Atlanta Dream look like they've regained their composure after a rough patch, but star Angel McCoughtry believes they still have plenty of room to improve.

The Eastern Conference-leading Dream go for a third straight win Sunday against the visiting New York Liberty.

Atlanta (17-9) has bounced back from a season-high four-game losing streak with an 89-80 win over Connecticut on Tuesday and 85-75 victory at Tulsa on Thursday. Tiffany Hayes finished with a career-high 27 points, McCoughtry added 21 and Erika de Souza had 18 and 12 rebounds to lead the Dream over the Shock.

Hayes had a bit of a scare when she hit her head on the floor late in the third quarter but returned to score 10 points in the fourth.

''We're Atlanta, everyone is always coming at us," she said. "You just have to get back up and play through it.''

Although the Dream shot 55.0 percent and scored 48 points in the paint, McCoughtry was unhappy with team's 23 turnovers.

''We can play so much better than tonight,'' said McCoughtry, who had a season-high 11 turnovers. ''We had so many turnovers. We can be so much better. We still haven't reached our potential.''

While the offense scuffled at times, Atlanta held Tulsa to 37.0 percent shooting, including 4 for 15 on 3-pointers.

''Defense leads to everything,'' Hayes said. ''No matter who has the hot hand or who's doing what, as long as our defense is on point and our communication is there, no one can beat us but ourselves."

The Dream may find more success defensively against the Liberty (11-15), who are one of the WNBA's worst offensive teams - averaging 73.2 points and shooting 42.2 percent.

Atlanta completely frustrated Cappie Pondexter for much of its game at Madison Square Garden on July 16. The six-time All-Star missed 12 of her first 14 shots before banking in a jumper from the foul line with four-tenths of a second left to lift the Liberty to a 77-75 win.

Pondexter scored 14 while Tina Charles had a team-high 15 points in Thursday's 87-74 loss to Chicago. New York, which was 3 of 11 from 3-point range and 13 of 21 from the foul line, fell to 0-4 in its season series with the Sky. Chicago pulled within one-half game of the Liberty for the East's fourth and final playoff spot.

''They played great, they executed their shots very well,'' Pondexter said. "We can't take anything from them and the good thing is we don't play them anymore.''

While New York is relieved to be done with the Sky, it still has to go out on the road, where it has struggled mightily.

The Liberty are tied with Tulsa for the league's worst road record at 3-10, and they play half of their remaining eight games away from Madison Square Garden.

The Dream, who are 11-3 at home, beat the Liberty 85-64 in Atlanta on June 20.

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