White Plains, NY – June 19, 2018 – The New York Liberty successfully defended their home court against the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday night, coming out on top 79-72, at the Westchester County Center.
The Liberty (4-6) jumped out to an 11-point lead after the first quarter as the Dream (6-6) mustered just six points, the lowest output in any quarter this season by a New York opponent.
Angel McCoughtry, who finished with a career-high 39 points, spearheaded a second-half resurgence for Atlanta. The Dream tied it up with under two minutes to go in the third, but an 18-8 Liberty run to start the final quarter quelled the comeback attempt.
Head coach Katie Smith explained. “Tonight, we made mistakes, but I thought the effort we gave in this ball game is what is needed every single night. We had a couple of moments when we knew they would not go away. McCoughtry was putting a lot of heat on us. Fortunately, were able to get a nice little cushion at the end.”
The New York defense held Atlanta to a lowly 29.9-percent shooting performance for the game. Moreover, the Dream’s 72 points were the fewest scored against the Liberty this season.
The Liberty forced 18 turnovers, and their 12 steals established a new season-high.
Tina Charles commented on the team’s defensive performance. “That effort is what carried us throughout the game. Katie really put an emphasis on us needing to step up on the defensive end and moving when the ball moves. With New York Liberty basketball, our defense has always been number one. We just tried to get back to that nature and rely on our foundation which is built on the defensive end. That’s what propelled us to the victory.”
Charles paced the Liberty with 29 points, her fifth game this season with 20 or more points. The forward also added eight rebounds to the cause.
Brittany Boyd racked up 11 assists in just 16 minutes off the bench, marking a new career-high. She became the first player in WNBA history to reach 11 helpers in under 20 minutes of play.
Rookie Kia Nurse was back in double figures after a two-game hiatus, finishing with 11 points off the bench. Shavonte Zellous added 13 of her own, and New York is now 4-1 when she reaches double figures.
The victory comes on the heels of a tough stretch in which the Liberty dropped four out of five. They will look to stay in the win column on Friday when they travel to Las Vegas for their second matchup against the Aces. The game is set to start at 10:00 p.m. (ET) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.