The New York Liberty were defeated by the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday night in Brooklyn, with Sabrina Ionescu reduced to de facto assistant coach duties.
NEW YORK (AP) —The New York Liberty’s idyllic homestand quickly turned into a nightmare.
After falling to the Liberty at home four nights previous, the Atlanta Dream avenged itself in the fourth quarter in a rematch at Barclays Center on Tuesday, rolling to an 86-79 victory in the middle leg of New York’s three-game Brooklyn run. The Dream (3-5) outperformed their hosts 26-19 in the final 10 minutes, with six women scoring in double digits, led by 16 from Alisha Gray. Atlanta led by as much as 11 points in the last session, anticipating their comeback when Haley Jones tied the game at 60-all with a buzzer-beating goal to end the third period.
New York (6-3) was missing Sabrina Ionescu, who was sidelined with a strained left hamstring. Sandy Brondello, head coach, called the absence as “precautionary.”
Marine Johannés, Ionescu’s starting point guard replacement, picked up some of the scoring slack with 18 points, narrowly beating out Betnijah Laney, who had a season-high 17. Breanna Stewart’s scoring was mostly limited to the foul line, as she shot just 1-of-13 from the field.
It was little consolation for Stewart, but she still managed another double-double, this time with a season-high 13 rebounds.
Despite some unsightly stats and sleepy stretches that allowed Atlanta to pull off a sloppy game with 35 fouls and 27 turnovers, the Liberty hung on till the end thanks to some clutch deep shooting from Johannés. Atlanta, on the other hand, made free throws and capitalized on its numerous second chances: the Dream outrebounded the Liberty 13-8 offensively and also benefited from excellent scoring from its bench. AD, the Liberty’s second overall pick in the 2019 draft, scored 13 points, as did Monique Billings, who had 12. Billings also led the way in offensive rebounding with four of her own.
Cheyenne Parker, Atlanta’s lone starter who did not reach 10 points, more than made up for it with 11 rebounds.
The Liberty will face the Dream once more on June 23 in Atlanta.
New York will finish their homestand and try to get back in the win column against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday (12 p.m. ET, CBS).