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Basketball for brunch: Liberty look for first win of 2019 vs Sparks Tuesday

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Los Angeles Sparks v Las Vegas Aces Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nothing yet. After losing to the Indiana Fever on Opening Night, the NY Liberty went in to Indiana looking for a bit of revenge. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to get it done as the Fever came away with the W on Saturday night. Now that the schedule is in full bloom, there won’t be another week long break in action like there was from game one to game two.

The opponent today will be the Los Angeles Sparks. The Sparks are looking a bit different these days as Derek Fisher has taken on head coaching duties for the club, but LA is still expected to make it into the playoffs this fall. After losing to the Las Vegas Aces on Opening Day, LA rebounded nicely with a win against the Connecticut Sun on Friday night in LA.

Where to follow the game

YES Network has you covered today. Grab your lunch (or breakfast for those that eat a bit later in the morning) as this one's tipping off at 11 AM.

Injuries

Nothing doing for the Liberty.

Alana Beard was dealing with a left leg injury and sat out Friday’s game for rest purposes. No word on if she’s suiting up today. Candace Parker is out due to a hamstring injury. Maria Vadeeva is away from the team as she competes in Eurobasket for Russia. She figures to be back sometime in July.

The game

The Liberty had a lot of trouble on offense last season, and Saturday was a continuation of that trend. They shot nine (yes, nine) percent from the field. When you start as slow as they did, it makes trying to win almost impossible.

Reshanda Gray had a nice birthday game on Saturday in Indiana, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds off the bench. Look for her to play a big role for the Liberty in this contest.

With Alana Beard less than 100 percent, Chelsea Gray will keep things running for the Sparks. Since coming to LA, Gray has been fantastic as she’s been named to two All Stars and was a key member of the 2016 Championship team.

Player to watch: Chiney Ogwumike

It’s been a busy spring for Ogwumike. To make ends meet, Ogwumike doubles as a basketball analyst for ESPN, so when she found out she was traded from Connecticut to LA, it set off a crazy chain of events for her. Matt Ellentuck has more over at the mothership.

On the court, Chiney adds some much needed help for LA and will change how the team operates once CP3 returns. Sabreena Merchant explains over at High Post Hoops:

Chiney Ogwumike’s presence figures to augur a more permanent residence for Parker on the perimeter, given that she possesses the most playmaking and ball-handling out of the forward group and can function as a wing. Chiney’s rebounding ability also fulfills an immediate need for Los Angeles, which was among the worst rebounding teams in the WNBA last year.

LA is big up front, so that means Tina Charles will have to play well for the Liberty to have a chance. Charles has been a steadying force for the Liberty over the years and moved into 15th place in the all time WNBA scoring ranks on Saturday night. Most of Charles’ shots in the two games this year have come from inside the free throw line, so if they can establish her inside early, it might open things open for the Liberty on the perimeter. Through two games, NY is shooing 31.6 percent from three point range.

Jam Session

June is Black Music Month, and now that it’s the appropriate season, let’s get the party started right.