Liberty-Dream Preview

New York Liberty forward Tina Charles is having the best year of her career.

Charles, a seventh-year pro leading the WNBA in scoring, will try to improve on her 22.0-point average Wednesday in a battle of leaders in the Eastern Conference. The Liberty play at the Atlanta Dream at Philips Arena. Both teams are 8-4.

Charles, who is the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season, is averaging 28.7 points in the past three games, making 32 of 65 shots.

Charles, who averages a double-double in her career, had made 2 of 17 3-point shots before this season. She has now become something of a threat from distance, hitting 7 of 15 from behind the arc this year, including five makes in the past three games.

"She's the most consistent player in this league," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said last week.

Wednesday's game is a rematch of a May 24 meeting, won by Atlanta 85-79 in overtime at New York. That snapped the Dream's five-game losing streak to the Liberty.

Fifth-year guard Tiffany Hayes led the Dream with 27 points (one off her career best), pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds and went 10 of 10 from the free throw line.

She is averaging 14.7 points, second on the team behind forward Angel McCoughtry, a U.S. Olympian who is at 19.6 points per game, fourth in the league.

While New York has won four games in a row, Atlanta is coming off a 95-65 loss at the Washington Mystics on Saturday, marking the Dream's lowest scoring output of the season. Coach Michael Cooper was ejected in the third quarter for arguing a call.

Charles, a four-time WNBA All-Star and the 2012 MVP, likely narrowly missed being included Tuesday on the WNBA's 2020 team, celebrating the league's 20 years in existence. Liberty guard Swin Cash, a 15-year pro who has announced her retirement after this season, was among the 20 players selected. She is averaging 6.1 points this season.

The Dream is expected to get back starting forward Sancho Lyttle (6.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, league-high 2.6 steals per game), who missed four games while helping Spain clinch an Olympic berth in a qualifying tournament in France.

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