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Dream-Liberty Preview

Jul 19, 2009 - 2:57 AM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

Atlanta (7-9) at New York (4-7), 4:00 p.m. EDT

The Atlanta Dream will get a second chance on this road trip to try to finally solve the New York Liberty.

They'll try to take advantage of what should be a tired Liberty squad on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Atlanta (7-9) opened this five-game swing by blowing an 11-point first-half lead in a 71-69 loss at New York on July 11. The Dream fell to 0-2 against the Liberty this year, and 0-5 all-time.

New York (4-8) has used solid defense against Atlanta leading scorer Chamique Holdsclaw, who is averaging 14.6 points. The New York native is averaging 13.0 points on 9-of-31 (29.0 percent) shooting against the Liberty this year.

"They're a veteran team and even though they're struggling this season, they're a group that's used to playing with each other," Holdsclaw said about the Liberty.

The Liberty have often matched up the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Shameka Christon with the 6-2, 172-pound Holdsclaw.

Christon is enjoying her best season as a pro, averaging a career-high 17.8 points in her sixth year. She has been compared to Holdsclaw since both were former Southeastern Conference players of the year and are known for their athleticism.

The Liberty are averaging a league-low 70.1 points. Their highest output this season came in their first road victory, 93-81 at Atlanta on June 21 behind 17 points from Christon.

Atlanta has the benefit of a day off Saturday while New York will face an extremely tough turnaround. The Liberty lost 68-67 on Saturday night at Washington, and will have about 19 hours to recover for this contest.

New York trailed by 16 heading into the fourth quarter, and its late rally fell short. Christon scored 21 points and Janel McCarville added 12.

The Dream responded to last weekend's loss at New York to win 91-77 at Minnesota on Wednesday before falling to league-leading Indiana 84-79 on Friday. Atlanta is one of two teams to beat the red-hot Fever this year, but never recovered from a 12-point halftime deficit.

Erika de Souza scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Dream, who impressed their opponents in defeat.

"I think Atlanta is one of the most athletic teams in the league," Fever star Tamika Catchings said. "Player for player, from one to 11, everybody they put on the court is good."

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    Dream 86, Liberty 89  FinalJul 19 6:36 PM

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