New York, NY-- The Atlanta Dream will not be picking up the tab for the New York Liberty after this afternoon's brunch, as the team lost by 24-points, 86-62, in the final regular-season matchup in the most famous arena.
Tina Charles commented, "I feel great being that it was an 11:00 [a.m.] game, it shows that we were up and ready for this game."
Both teams started out ice cold, until Sugar Rodgers drained a three-pointer, as she continues to lead the league in three-point field goals. Tina Charles expanded her play, as she sliced through the Dream's defense, contributing six points and five rebounds.
The first quarter was a hard fought battle defensively, as both teams struggled to get the ball in the net. The Liberty took a two-point lead, 15-13, heading into the second quarter.
With a large balance between the top 10 Liberty players, starters Brittany Boyd and Shavonte Zellous, changed the pace of the game after coming off the bench, as they created opportunities for Kiah Stokes.
Stokes would eventually limp to the bench with an ankle sprain late in the second quarter. Premier player Angel McCoughtry, was unable to hobble past the half court line due to a quad issue after taking a knee to the quad from Stokes.
New York outhustled Atlanta on the glass, outrebounding the Dream 25 to 14. Although the Liberty missed an unusual amount of layups, they extended their lead to 10 points, 39-29, heading into the second half.
New York put on a show in the third, outscoring Atlanta 26-13. Charles' five and a half minutes of playing time in the second quarter paid off in the third quarter, as two defenders guarded her, which created open space for Carolyn Swords, Rodgers and Zellous.
After nursing the charley horse out of her quad, McCoughtry's emotion landed her in trouble, as she was given a technical foul for mouthing off to officials, as Atlanta trailed 23 points, 65-42, at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter shaped up to be another dominating quarter for New York. In the final two minutes, there was another lunch break, as Reshanda Gray was automatically ejected from the game after two flagrant fouls were called on a play. Gray toppled over Zahui B. on the floor, as her feet came crashing down on Zahui B.'s head.
Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer commented, "I think they were a little frustrated. We were playing hard and the game was out of control for them. I think their frustrations got the best of them."
New York's bench scored 47 points, as Rebecca Allen and Stokes contributed 11 points each, while Zahui B. added nine points. Charles led the team with 18 points, nine total rebounds, and she was complimented by Rodgers 13 points.
"The bench gives them a big lift. The starters set the tone, but then I think the bench understands the tone that the starters are setting. So, they come in and get it done but they do it in the intangible areas; loose balls, blocked shots, defense, rebounding and if they score I think it's a big plus," said Atlanta's head coach Michael Cooper.
Atlanta only shot 30 percent from the field, as Bria Holmes contributed 11 points adding to Tiffany Hayes 12 points, which was four points shy of her 16-point game average. Sancho Little and Elizabeth Williams combined for 15 rebounds of the team's 32 overall rebounds, but ultimately could not stop New York.
"It's definitely ‘on to the next.' We're not worried about this game. We know we can play better than this. We played terrible - I mean, we lost by 20. But half of us didn't play over 30 minutes. We're definitely just moving forward and we're going to give it to the next team.," said Hayes.