Home News Liberty stay perfect in Commissioner’s Cup standings after win against Atlanta Dream

Liberty stay perfect in Commissioner’s Cup standings after win against Atlanta Dream

The Liberty showed signs of a team in the middle of a six-game, 10-day schedule in Thursday’s Commissioner’s Cup game against the Atlanta Dream. Fortunately for the Libs, the Dream looked more sluggish while Breanna Stewart and her team got a 78-61 victory at Gateway Center Arena.

The Liberty’s final total came short of the team’s points per game average (86.3) through the first 10 games of the season and they shot just 39.2% en route to securing a 3-0 Commissioner’s Cup record and the ninth overall win of the season.

Stewart led the way while stuffing the stat sheet: 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a block. Sabrina Ionescu took care of point guard duties with starter Courtney Vandersloot out (personal) and logged 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Betnijah Laney-Hamilton recorded 15 points, five boards and four assists against her former team.

Atlanta’s 61 points is the fewest the Liberty have allowed this season. The home team’s poor play allowed the Liberty to cruise to victory without much resistance in the end.

Jonquel Jones’ trey with 7:38 remaining stretched her team’s lead to 13 and forced Atlanta head coach Tanisha Wright to call timeout. The game felt out of reach there due to Atlanta’s inefficiencies. The Dream couldn’t drain open shots didn’t get much from stars other than Allisha Gray.

Gray logged 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Atlanta’s star trio of Rhyne Howard (11 points), Cheyenne Parker-Tyus (eight points) and Tina Charles (five points) combined to shoot 8-for-27 (29.6%) in the loss. The Dream shot 34.4% from the field on the night.

The sluggish play started early.

Brondello’s squad was up, 15-12, after the first period, ending the quarter in a zone defense. The team ended Tuesday’s win over the Sky in the same coverage in response to players beating them off the dribble.

Liberty ended the quarter up despite six early turnovers. The Dream failed to score on any of those opportunities.

After a slow first period, the two teams traded buckets in the second. The Liberty assisted their way to a six-point halftime lead. They assisted on 13 of 15 made field goals in the first half, including Jones’ sweet bounce back that led to Kayla Thornton’s made three in the corner. The team eventually assisted on 24 of 29 total makes Thursday.

Charles responded with an assist of her own to Howard on the next possession. But the Liberty’s 8-2 to end the period was enough to give them a 38-32 lead at the half.

Atlanta’s shooting woes continued in the third as they missed the first six shot attempts and failed to score almost midway through the period. Gray got Atlanta’s first points in the third at the 5:35 mark but the Liberty scored seven unanswered before that.

To add injury to insult, Gray left Thursday’s loss after taking an incidental elbow to the face with four minutes left in regulation. The Dream trailed by 16 at that point and her absence essentially sealed the win for the Liberty.

Jones finished with 10 points, eight boards and three blocks. Leonie Fiebich enjoyed her best game of the season: eight points, nine rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes off the bench.

Thursday’s win gives the Libs their fifth straight win and keeps the team undefeated in this current 10-day stretch. They’re also undefeated in Cup play (3-0). They’ll now prep for the undefeated Connecticut Sun (9-0), who sit atop of the league and Commissioner’s Cup standings.


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