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Charles, Liberty deliver body blow to Dream

The New York Liberty started slow, but remains atop the East after defeating the Atlanta Dream on Friday. Tina Charles finishes with 25 points, leading New York to a 78-67 win.

MSG Photo Services

New York, NY -- The energy was high inside Madison Square Garden as the New York Liberty took on The Atlanta Dream.

Fresh off a seemingly easy win over the San Antonio Stars, New York seemed to struggle during the first quarter, not obtaining their first lead until the end of the first half.

Momentum shifted to the Liberty following back-to-back threes from Epiphanny Prince, as well as two field goals from Tina Charles just before the half. New York went into the locker room only up by one.

The lead was short-lived as Tina Charles opened the second half with a technical. However, that would not deter their fight, or Charles taking over the game with 17 points in the second half alone. The superstar ended with a total of 25.

"Enough is enough," explained Charles. "You don't want to lose two back to back home games. Atlanta is a really good team. Many thought they were falling off, but they are actually getting better. I'm glad we were able to hang in there and pull out this win."

Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer added, "That's as good as a playoff team that we are going to face. They are incredibly physical. We talked about that going in. They're a great rebounding team, but we beat them on the boards. We put an energy player, Brittany [Boyd], in the game. Her play on both sides of the ball was contagious.

"Then Tina [Charles] took over, and she started making all of the shots. Overall it was a good test for us, and we passed."

The team chemistry displayed has been pushing them to the top this season.

"We get along so well," said Boyd. We believe in each other, and we just want to get better. We want to win."

"I love this team," added Candice [Wiggins]. "I love where it's going, and I'm excited to be a part of it. We all have our roles, and I accept mine to the fullest."

Epiphanny Prince also had a solid performance and finished with 18 points as she fought for a comeback since displaying her worst performance this season in Tulsa.

New York defeats Atlanta 78-67 and improves to 18-7 for the first time in franchise history. They take on Indiana on Sunday at 6 pm ET.