|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0019:00 ET5:00 PM CT22:00 , June 26, 2021
Gateway Center Arena, College Park, Georgia Attendance: 1,605
Both reeling, Dream and Liberty meet for 2-game set
A month ago, when the Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty last faced each other, both teams had jumped out to a strong start to the season. The Dream won in overtime for a fourth consecutive victory and were riding high.
That was May 29. This is now. And both teams are reeling as they enter Saturday night's game in Atlanta. They will face each other again Tuesday night.
The Liberty (7-8) were 5-1 heading into last month's matchup but are 2-7 since then.
Atlanta guards Chennedy Carter and Tiffany Hayes have been injured at different times as the Dream (5-8) have lost six of seven games.
Carter, who injured her elbow against the Liberty, returned Wednesday after a six-game absence. She had 16 points and four assists, yet the Dream blew an 18-point lead at home and lost to the Minnesota Lynx, 87-85.
Atlanta played its first game without Hayes, who is out four to six weeks because of a grade 2 MCL tear in her right knee. Hayes is averaging 17.6 points a game.
"I thought Chennedy played really well," Atlanta interim coach Mike Petersen said. "She was aggressive and played downhill and really helped us. We got quality minutes from a lot of players ... Our effort is good and our want-to is good. If you take the last few games, we're one made layup from winning those games."
Three of the Dream's losses in its stretch since the game against New York are by three points or fewer.
The Liberty are coming off a 91-68 loss at home on Tuesday against the Chicago Sky, who won their seventh consecutive game.
Rookie Michaela Onyenwere scored 16 points to lead the Liberty, while Betnijah Laney and Sami Whitcomb added 14 apiece.
New York struggled from 3-point range, going just 4 for 25.
"Am I able to easily shrug it off? No," Whitcomb said. "We're capable of hitting those shots, but we're not executing. We're also missing shots at the rim and not executing."
She was also critical of her team's defense saying, "You can shake off a 4-for-whatever if you play defense."
In their recent 1-4 stretch, the Liberty has seen opponents make 48 percent of their shots and average 91.8 points a game.
Sabrina Ionescu's scoring production is also markedly down, as she is averaging 10.8 points a game while playing with tendinitis in her left ankle, an injury that cost her most of last season.
--Field Level Media
Updated June 25, 2021