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McCoughtry goes off for 32 points in win over Liberty

Angel McCoughtry's 32 points was too much for the New York Liberty, as the Atlanta Dream was able to hold off a late rally for the victory.

The Atlanta Dream took advantage of 17 turnovers by the New York Liberty to bring their home record to 5-4 with an 84-76 win.

The Dream (6-7 overall), who were playing without injured forward Sancho Lyttle, were forced to shake up their starting lineup. In place of Lyttle was rookie Cierra Burdick, who was making her first career start. Starting at point guard was Sydney Carter, who was starting only her second career game.

Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper was optimistic about Carter being on the floor to lead the team.

"I just think it was time for a shake-up," Cooper said. "Sydney's had a good practice the last three of four practices we've had; we just felt Carter was the player we wanted to get things done with this game."

The lineup switch made a difference in the first quarter, with Burdick scoring 10 of her 12 points in the quarter to give the Dream a 21-17 lead.

Burdick credited the fast start to her steady preparation.

"I was just thinking to come out with a lot of energy and play with tons of passion," Burdick said. "I was just thankful my preparation was able to meet an opportunity."

In the second quarter, the Dream would continue to smother the Liberty with their fast pace offense and zone defense, taking a 42-31 lead into halftime. The Dream would build a lead as big as 19 points before the Liberty offense came alive.

Liberty center Tina Charles and point guard Brittany Boyd combined for 14 of the team's 25 third quarter points as the Liberty fought back to within four to end the third.

Charles felt that her team gave it all they had.

"I think we showed great heart, after being down 18 points and being able to come back; we just showed great heart," Charles said. "We were all out there competing, and something we can take away is that we had heart."

In the fourth quarter, the Dream's Angel McCoughtry decided to take over the game, scoring 11 of Atlanta's 24 points in the fourth quarter to pull the game out of reach for New York.

McCoughtry would finish with a game-high 32 points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. She now has scored in double-digits in 19 straight games.

Cooper gave a lot of credit to McCoughtry for being a complete player.

"Yes, we need Angel scoring but the big thing with her is that we need Angel to be a facilitator, and I think she can create shots for other people," Cooper said. "I tip my hat out to her because she played a complete team game for us tonight."

The Dream beat the Liberty for the first time in three tries this season, and are now on their way to the West Coast for a three-game stretch. The Liberty had their three-game winning streak snap and are now a half-game behind the Chicago Sky for second place in the Eastern Conference.