Shameka Christon knew the Atlanta Dream had a tendency to collapse their defense around the basket.
For a perimeter shooter like Christon, it seemed like a perfect matchup.
"Everyone was great at defending, but my mentality is to score more than they want to stop me," she said. "I keep that in mind, but (the Dream have) good defenders."
Christon scored 17 points and Janel McCarville had 15 to help the New York Liberty pull away for a 93-81 win over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.
The Liberty (2-3), who began the season with three straight losses, scored 29 points in the third quarter, including two 3-pointers by Christon and one by Cathrine Kraayeveld.
Atlanta had won two straight, but the Dream (3-3) never had a lead bigger than four, which came on Chamique Holdsclaw's 3-pointer at the 1:42 mark of the first quarter.
"This is a maturation process for our team," Holdsclaw said scoring a team-high 17 points. "Today we got out-muscled and out-hustled. New York played a great game today."
Iziane Castro Marques added 14 for Atlanta. Sancho Lyttle had nine rebounds.
The Dream used a strong zone defense in winning their past two games, but they failed to defend the perimeter effectively as the Liberty went 9 for 18 on 3-point attempts. Christon went 3 for 5 beyond the arc.
"I think we were playing back on our heels most of the game and didn't have the good defensive effort that we've had most of the season," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "We'll just have to get back to work to get ready for Chicago on Tuesday."
After Tiffany Jackson's layup gave the Liberty an 81-65 lead with 8:45 remaining, New York took its biggest lead when Ashley Battle's layup made it 89-69.
The Liberty, which hit 57 percent of their 61 shots from the field, got 13 points from Kraayeveld.
Despite having McCarville pick up her fourth foul and head to the bench with 5:22 left in the third, New York took an 11-point lead on Kraayeveld's jumper to make it 61-50 less than a minute later.
"We got good looks and made shots," Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "I think that is the nature of this team. When we make shots, we are a much better team. (The Dream) are big, they are athletic and really hard to guard, but we did a decent job."
Christon followed with a 3 before Kraayeveld's three-point play put the Liberty ahead 73-58.
"If we play defense, everything else will fall through," Christon said. "Getting up extra shots before and after practice is something you have to do as a shooter. That's what helped me prepare."
Loree Moore finished with six assists for New York.
Lyttle and Erika DeSouza each scored 13 points for Atlanta, but Coyle had her players focused on both ends of the floor.
"We put them in situations to execute," Coyle said. "We wanted them to stick to the game plan, and I thought that we did a great job with that."