Bronx, NY— Tiffany Hayes showed the WNBA what they have been missing, providing a lift in overtime to help the Atlanta Dream over the New York Liberty.
Hayes, who missed the first 19 contests with a right knee injury, scored nine of her 21 points in OT to give Atlanta a 92-81 victory over the Liberty on Thursday night at the Barclays Center celebrating Pride Night.
The Liberty finished the contest on 39.4% (26-66) shooting from the hardwood, 32.3% (10-31) from three, and 79.2% (19-24) at the free throw line.
The NYL led early 18-13 after one quarter before the Dream took a 41-36 lead at the break behind 10 points from Kristy Wallace. The Dream extended the lead to 61-48 heading into the final frame before the Liberty rallied.
“It feels great to have all our players, still missing Nia (Coffey),” said Atlanta coach Tanisha Wright about finally having an almost full roster.
NY got back into the game with an 17-0 run in the fourth quarter that included a huge three pointer from Didi Richards which the arena erupted.
Hayes scored the first seven points in OT, hitting 3-pointers from both side of the elbows. She made one of two free throws to make it 86-79.
Natasha Howard got the Liberty rolling in OT with a layup to trim the lead to 88-81 with just over 2 minutes left to play. The Liberty wouldn’t get any closer.
New York (8-11) led 79-76 with 7.5 seconds left when Erica Wheeler took the ball and dribbled the clock down before hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Wheeler had missed most of June with a left foot sprain.
Stefanie Dolson finished with a team-high 20 points on 66.7% (8-12) shooting from the court, including 66.7% (2-3) from downtown, and seven boards. Her 20-point performance marked a season high in scoring. Sabrina Ionescu chipped in 17 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists for the Liberty.
“We had one good quarter tonight,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. “Lessons learned and we move forward into July.”
Asia Durr returned to New York after the NYL traded Durr to the Atlanta Dream earlier this month. Durr missed the last two seasons while dealing with issues from COVID-19. Durr scored five points in the contest.
Erica Wheeler admitted the tying shot wasn’t originally for her.
“The shot was to go to AD, but as a point guard, time awareness, saw 2.3 seconds left and made a basketball move and hit the shot,” Wheeler said.
Dream: Return home to play Seattle on Sunday.
Liberty: Begin a three-game road trip in Los Angeles on Sunday leading into the All-Star break.