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Liberty falls to woeful Atlanta, looks bound for WNBA lottery

New York Liberty head coach Katie Smith watches

New York Liberty head coach Katie Smith watches during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Credit: AP/Darron Cummings

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The playoffs are looking like an impossible dream for the Liberty.

The Atlanta Dream arrived at Westchester County Center on Friday with 12 straight losses and the WNBA’s worst record — and the Liberty dropped a 90-87 decision.

The Liberty (9-19) are 4 1⁄2 games behind for the eighth and final playoff spot with six games left. They figure to claim a lottery ticket for the second straight year.

The odds would go up for them because the lottery is based on two-year cumulative records. They trail Indiana by one game for worst record in that span.

The Liberty went 7-27 last season and landed Asia Durr with the second overall pick.

Another top-two pick could mean a chance to upgrade at point guard with Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu or improve up front with 6-4 Baylor forward Lauren Cox.

Asked if she thinks about what it would mean for the Liberty if they got into the lottery with those two available, coach Katie Smith said, “Yeah, you get another young piece, and depending on the CBA, what you can do in free agency — we have money and we have space for that. I think there are multiple ways that we’re looking to improve our team . . . We’re building.”

Bria Hartley scored 17 to lead the Liberty, who led by 14 in the second quarter but fell behind by 11 in the third. Tiffany Hayes topped the Dream (6-22) with 19.

“Incredibly disappointing,” the Liberty’s Rebecca Allen said. “I think it was our game to be had.”

New York Sports