Neither the New York Liberty nor Atlanta Dream are anywhere close to 100 percent healthy, yet both teams will be in position to further solidify their playoff hopes when they meet Friday night at Atlanta.
It will be the first meeting of the season between the teams.
The Liberty and Dream each are looking to build a winning streak after recording narrow victories earlier this week. New York led almost wire-to-wire in beating the host Connecticut Sun 81-77 on Wednesday. Atlanta held off a second-half comeback and edged the visiting Dallas Wings 80-75 on Tuesday.
The win by the Liberty (7-10) at least temporarily vaulted them into the eighth and final playoff spot. New York was percentage points ahead of Los Angeles (6-9) heading into the Sparks’ home game Thursday night against the Chicago Sky.
The Liberty trailed for just 52 seconds against the Sun despite playing without Han Xu (sore throat), Rebecca Allen (concussion) and Betnijah Laney (right knee). The trio is averaging 32.4 points per game for New York, which has gone 6-3 this month after a 1-7 start in May.
“One day, we’re going to have a healthy team,” Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello said. “And that’ll be a great day.”
The Dream (8-8), who allowed Dallas to erase an 11-point deficit but never allowed the Wings to take the lead in the second half Tuesday, are even more depleted than the Liberty. Of the nine players on Atlanta’s roster Tuesday, seven were either in the midst of their rookie contracts or with the team on a hardship waiver.
The win over the Wings — which lifted Atlanta into sixth place in the WNBA — was sparked by guard Maya Caldwell, who scored 18 points in her professional debut just one day after signing via the hardship waiver. Caldwell spent training camp with Atlanta and was about to join a pro-am league in North Carolina before getting the call.
“They told me to stay ready,” Caldwell said Tuesday. “That’s exactly what I did.”
–Field Level Media