Atlanta, GA -- The Atlanta Dream (8-5) played the New York Liberty (9-4) at noon on Wednesday, in a battle for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Liberty came to Atlanta off of a four-game winning streak, while the last consistent winning streak for the Dream ended at the beginning of May.
And the Liberty left Atlanta with another notch to their streak, as they won in double overtime, 90-79.
"I thought we executed well. Tanisha [Wright] runs a show out there tightly; we made a couple shots when we needed to, and we got it done," Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer said.
Returning to the Dream's starting lineup was forward Sancho Lyttle, who missed four games while competing for Spain's team at the 2016 FIBA Olympic qualifier in France. Lyttle averaged 15.7 points per game and led Spain to an Olympic bid.
The first points went to the Liberty, but center Elizabeth Williams, put the first four points on the board for the Dream and Lyttle's effort kept the game close early in the first quarter.
Williams led all scorers for the Dream in the first with six points, but the Dream struggled from the three-point line, not hitting any out of the six attempts made. After the first, the Liberty led, 17-12.
The second quarter began with a good start for the Dream with a Matee Ajayon steal followed by a Tiffany Hayes layup. Hayes continued the momentum on offense and put Atlanta up 18-17.
After two consecutive turnovers by the Liberty, a much-needed three-point play after a foul by Liberty's Brittany Boyd, allowed the Dream to maintain the lead going into halftime, 37-36.
There was poor shooting by both teams in the first few minutes into the third, but free throws and a rebound by Angel McCoughtry kept the Dream on top. Williams and Hayes were still leading the team with 12 points each, but McCoughtry's recent buckets kept her not far behind with 10.
However, the Dream fell behind with missed shots, their three-point range painfully reaching 0-10. They were down four at the end of the third, the score, 51-55.
Unsuccessful offensive possessions continued for the Dream increasing the lead to nine, the biggest of the game. Buckets by McCoughtry and Layshia Clarendon cut the lead to three, and the first three made in the game by rookie Meighan Simmons, tied it up. The Liberty were unable to answer, and the game was headed to overtime with a 3-0 record for the Dream.
The Dream's offense struggled, until a jumper came from Lyttle, and a steal by Hayes with nine seconds to go led to a fast break layup to tie the game with 5.8 seconds left in overtime. A missed shot by Liberty's Tina Charles, resulted in the game going into second overtime with a score tied at 76.
Consecutive made shots by the Liberty gave them an early seven-point lead, and the struggle continued for the Dream with missed shots. The Liberty kept the momentum on offense and ended with a victory, 90-79.
"I messed up a little bit, and that's why we went into second overtime. But I was just happy we were able to knock down shots, get rebounds, get stops, that's what we try to do. We've been in this position multiple times, so I'm happy we were able to get this done," said Tina Charles, who led all Liberty players with 23 points.
According to Dream Head Coach Michael Cooper, "We just caught a team that's red hot at this point in time. But I really love the fight that our players took to them.
"I just think they wanted it a little bit more than us. That's the fight that this league provides. That on any given night, no matter where you play, a team can win. That's what they did today."
The Dream continue play at San Antonio on Saturday at 8 p.m.