The New York Liberty and Atlanta Dream met at the end of the 2019 season, but their rosters are hardly recognizable from September.
The New York Liberty and Atlanta Dream last squared off in September. Less than a calendar year later, only four players from that game are making the return trip.
New York and Atlanta continue seasons of transition on Friday night in the Bradenton bubble, squaring for their respective third games of 2020 (7 p.m. ET, CBSSN).
The Liberty (0-2) are coming off a 93-80 loss to the Dallas Wings on Wednesday night. A porous night on defense was only somewhat offset by dominance from Sabrina Ionescu. The top overall pick of April’s draft tallied an infantile career-best 33 points and a matching seven rebounds and assists. Layshia Clarendon was the only other New York in double-figures with 11 points while Amanda Zahui B grabbed 11 rebounds.
“Coming in, it’s going to be a process. Piece-by-piece, we’ve just got to keep building every single game, every single day in practice,” Ionescu said after the game. “Obviously, I’m not happy because we didn’t win, so that part still isn’t up to my standard, our standard as a team and an organization. We’re still getting used to each other as a brand new team with a lot of new faces, so it’s just going to take us some growing pains. My teammates know it took us some growing pains at Oregon as well. It’s going to take time, but hopefully, we just keep building and getting to know each other.”
Atlanta (1-1) is likewise coming off a loss on Wednesday night. They topped Dallas in their opener but were on the wrong side of a 100-70 decision at the hands of the Las Vegas Aces. Elizabeth Williams, one of the few holdovers from last season’s finale, led the Dream with 16 points in defeat.
New York won two of the three meetings last season, including the aforementioned finisher by a 71-63 final at State Farm Arena. It wound up being the final appearance in a Liberty uniform for Tina Charles, who led all shooters with 14 points. Zahui B (13 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double while Williams tallied 11 rebounds for the Dream. The teams are also set to meet on September 3 in the bubble.
Kia Nurse (ankle sprain) is the only New Yorker listed on the team’s injury report. Nurse, one of the two returnees for the Liberty from the 2019 season finale, was limited to 10 minutes in the opener against Seattle last weekend but played 22 minutes against the Wings.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags