New York, NY -- After earning their first loss of the season in overtime to the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, the New York Liberty gave Madison Square Garden its second game in a row of extra basketball on Tuesday. Unfortunately for the Liberty, the result was the same, falling to the Atlanta Dream 85-79.
The Liberty controlled the first three-quarters of the game, until the Dream took over in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime.
"I think we definitely can have more sense of urgency," said Liberty star forward Tina Charles. "I think our defense was definitely better than our offense."
Tina Charles dominated on the inside for the Liberty posting 11 points and five rebounds in just the first half. She led New York to halftime with a 39-32 lead and went on to score a season-high 29 points.
At the half, the Liberty outscored the Dream 26-12 in the paint with help from guard Sugar Rodgers, who put up six points. Rodgers has now collected double-digit points in all four games with 10 points on Tuesday. She leads the Liberty with 11 three-pointers this season, but was held by Atlanta making none of her four attempts.
The Dream's Tiffany Hayes, rallied for a season-high 27 points, one shy of her career record, while leading both teams in threes, nailing one in the first half and two in the second. The guard logged 22 double-digit scoring games last season and is on track to beat it in 2016.
"It was a team effort," said Hayes. "We didn't get down when we were down after the first half. We came back and fought. That's what we've been telling each other all year. We get down, and we fight."
Hayes' three-pointers were complimented by Sancho Lyttle and Carla Cortijo. Lyttle hit a three early in the first quarter to put the Dream within one and with just under eight minutes left in regulation, Cortijo sunk another three putting Atlanta in a 62-60 deficit.
However, Charles did what leaders do best, stroking her first three of the game for her 27th point, giving New York the 67-62 advantage just before the midway point of the fourth.
Atlanta fought back taking its first lead of the game with a layup by Elizabeth Williams, making it 68-67. With the layup, Williams racked up her 10 points, putting her on the Dream's double-digit points list with Hayes and Cortijo.
The lead didn't last long after Carolyn Swords retaliated with two, to put the Liberty back on top, 69-68. Swords led her team on the boards with 11 rebounds.
Atlanta's 6-0 rally started with five minutes left. Williams made both her free throws, followed by an Angel McCoughtry jump shot and was capped off by Williams again with a hook shot making it a 73-69 Dream lead.
McCoughtry missed most of the first half with a foot injury, but ended up being in the catalyst in the Dreams' win.
"I'm still trying to get my legs back now. It's tough playing 30 minutes overseas and then I get back," said McCoughtry.
With just over a minute to go, Tanisha Wright drove to the net for a layup to tie the game at 75 for the Liberty.
Bria Holmes came off the bench for the Dream and recorded seven points including two crucial free throws at the end of the game to lift her team to a 77-75 lead with just under 25 seconds left.
Rodgers retaliated with a driving layup to tie it at 77 sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, it was all Atlanta as they outscored the Liberty 8-2, giving the Liberty their second loss of the season.
"Part of it is our mental mistakes," said Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer. "Not being in the right spot, not having the right timing, but we need someone to step up and be an offensive threat for us."