Dream’s playoff hopes hurt with loss to Liberty

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Erica Wheeler scored 16 points and Rhyne Howard added 13 but the Dream lost to the New York Liberty 80-70 on Friday night in College Park.

New York and the Dream entered the game in a four-way tie with Minnesota and Phoenix for the final two playoff spots. The Liberty (15-20) host the Dream (14-21) on Sunday to close the regular season.

New York led by as many as 22 points, but the Dream scored nine of the opening 10 points of the fourth quarter to get to 71-60. Wheeler and Aari McDonald each made a fast-break layup on consecutive possessions to cap a 14-4 Dream run to make it 74-67 with 6:15 left. But Atlanta did not make another field goal the rest of the way.

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Cheyenne Parker had 13 points and McDonald scored 10 for the Dream.

Crystal Dangerfield scored a season-high 18 points and Betnijah Laney added 17 points for the Liberty. Sabrina Ionescu had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Natasha Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

New York shot 63.6% from the field in the first quarter, scoring 31 points to take a four-point lead. The Liberty only scored 27 points in the second half.