The New York Liberty’s top five available contributors all stepped up and Sami Whitcomb led the way with a career-high 30 points in a 101-78 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday night at Gateway Center Arena in College Park, Ga.
The casual WNBA fan will look at Whitcomb’s incredible performance and now know what Liberty head coach Walt Hopkins has known for quite some time: Whitcomb is far more than a 3-point specialist these days. In addition to her 7-of-12 effort from beyond the arc, Whitcomb had six rebounds, five assists and three steals. She is averaging 5.3 rebounds on the season, which is great for a guard.
Saturday’s showcase will get Whitcomb some All-Star votes.
Betnijah Laney was just as spectacular as Whitcomb with 28 points and six assists. Michaela Onyenwere added 18 points while Sabrina Ionescu had 10 to go along with six rebounds and eight helpers and Kylee Shook had six to go along with 11 boards.
Natasha Howard is still out with a knee injury and Rebecca Allen did not play either, so, of the core players who were available, everyone made big contributions for the Liberty, which was needed to snap a two-game skid and get the team back to .500 (8-8).
New York was up by just three at halftime before winning the third 26-18 and the fourth 32-20.
Chennedy Carter notched 24 points in defeat as the Dream fell to 5-9. Atlanta is in danger of falling behind the pack of teams from fifth to tenth place who are separated by just a half a game. Right now they are in 11th place and 1.5 games back of the Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks, who are tied for ninth.
Dallas Wings (8-8) over Washington Mystics (7-8), 85-74
Arike Ogunbowale posted 30 points and five steals as the Wings built up a 16-point halftime lead before holding on in the second half. Tina Charles recorded her second-straight losing 25-plus-point, 10-plus-rebound effort for the Mystics. Her two games before that were 30-plus-point and 15-plus-rebound performances in victories.
Starting forward Satou Sabally added 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists to the winning cause while Allisha Gray and Isabelle Harrison chipped in with 14 and 12 points, respectively, off the bench.