Five Liberty players hit double-figures, led by forward Cappie Pondexter’s 23 points on 7-for-8 shooting.
“We are a good team, so we realize that we have to bring our ‘A’ game to every game, because we get everybody’s best game,” McCoughtry said. “But that is a compliment to us, so we will readjust and get back on our winning streak.”
Win streaks always end but the Liberty were not a leading candidate for ending this one. New York (4-10) had lost its last five straight and eight of its last nine. On Friday, Atlanta mauled the Liberty 85-64 in Atlanta.
“It’s always tough to play a team back to back in consecutive games,” Cooper said. “Our energy level was low. You have to credit them (the Liberty).”
After playing catch-up much of the third quarter, the Dream trailed by four points early in the fourth before Pondexter hit a 3-pointer and added a layup to make it 67-60. They extended the lead to 12 points before Atlanta closed to 77-72 with 1:11 left on McCoughtry’s layup.
But New York’s Tina Charles hit a foul line jumper just before the shot clock expired to seal it.
“I like the fight we showed towards the end,” Cooper said. “It was a very well played game by both teams and we didn’t do a lot of things here that we did at home (on Friday).”
The Dream cruised to 40-29 lead late in the second quarter capped by consecutive baskets by McCoughtry, who had 15 by halftime. But New York finished the half in a flurry, scoreing the final nine points. Sugar Rodgers had five points during that burst and Pondexter ended the half with two free throws with just under a second left to close the gap 40-38.
The Liberty hit another surge early in the third quarter. After a Pondexter 15-footer gave the Liberty a 44-42 edge, they would never trail again, scoring 14 of the next 18 for a 58-46 advantage. Alex Montgomery got it started with a 3-pointer and hit another 3 that made it 57-46 with 2:23 left in the period.