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Dream keep moving on without all-star, face Liberty next

Losing All-Star forward Angel McCoughtry was a disappointing setback for a team enjoying a strong season.

The Atlanta Dream successfully handled the second game without McCoughtry by beating the Dallas Wings on Saturday and hope to keep rolling Sunday afternoon when they visit the struggling New York Liberty at the Westchester Civic Center in White Plains, N.Y.

McCoughtry was lost for the season with torn ligaments in her left knee Thursday and the Dream responded with a 79-73 win over the Los Angeles Sparks hours after the announcement. They won 92-82 on Saturday.

The two wins since losing its second-leading scorer gave Atlanta 13 victories in its last 14 games. The Dream also set a record with their 21st regular-season win. At 21-10, Atlanta is two games behind the Seattle Storm for the top spot in the league with three games remaining.

"We knew we had the personnel to be a playoff team, but we've really taken (the) one game at a time approach, not gotten too high, not gotten too low," Atlanta coach Nicki Collen said.

"We tried to solve problems when we weren't particularly playing well, tried to keep rolling with it when we are playing well but still try to find ways to be better. With the way the league is this year and the tightness of the race to the playoffs, you can't take a night off."

Renee Montgomery scored 24 points and hit six 3-pointers as Atlanta won its fifth straight Saturday. Elizabeth Williams added 18 poinits and Tiffany Hayes contributed 15.

While Atlanta will be keeping its eye on the scoreboard to see how the third-place Washington Mystics are doing in their game against Dallas, the Dream will be focused on beating the Liberty (7-22) for the second time in three meetings.

Montgomery hit a team-record seven 3-pointers and scored 24 points in Atlanta's 82-68 home victory July 19.

That game was the second loss in New York's current eight-game skid. Six of the losses are by double digits, but New York is coming off one of its better showings.

On Wednesday, the Liberty suffered an 82-81 home loss to the Sparks.

"If we played this hard all year for every single game, I think we'd be in a different position at the moment," first-year New York coach Katie Smith said.

Tina Charles scored 27 points and had different players helping her. Rebecca Allen scored 13 points in her second straight extensive look. Rookie Kia Nurse made her second WNBA start and scored eight after getting 20 in Monday's loss to Seattle.

Sunday's game will be the home finale for the Liberty, who are 4-12 at home. They have played 14 home games in Westchester and only weekday afternoon games against Phoenix and Seattle at Madison Square Garden.
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