Riding a four game winning streak, the New York Liberty were looking to avenge an earlier defeat that they experienced at the hands of the Las Vegas Aces. Unfortunately for NY, they weren't able to keep up as Vegas won by 32 points on Sunday. The loss snapped NY's four game winning streak. That's how it is sometimes.
Waiting for New York will be the Chicago Sky. They've had a decent season and find themselves third in the Eastern Conference standings. They lost on Wednesday night at home to the Minnesota Lynx as Odyssey Sims hit a jumper in the final seconds that gave Minnesota the win.
Where to follow the game
ESPN3 is the place to be. Tip off after 8 Eastern.
Katie Lou Samuelson has been working her way back from a hand injury, and her status for this one is up in the air. Jamierra Faulkner has been recovering from a recent knee injury, but she'll likely miss this contest.
Chicago won the first matchup.
If there's any benefit to being on the receiving end of a blowout, it's that you have an opportunity to give your most important players a little more rest than usual. Tina Charles and Kia Nurse played under 31 minutes for the first time in a while. As it so happens, the last time they played so few minutes was when the Aces blew them out the last time. Life is funny that way.
Speaking of Nurse, there's a good chance she makes it to the All Star Game in Vegas on the 27th. Here's Matt Ellentuck of the mothership explaining why he voted for Nurse:
The Liberty weren’t expected to be in the playoff mix this year, but Nurse, at only 23 years old, is breaking out and keeping them in. She’s the future wing of the W, taking six threes per game and sinking 38 percent of them. Averaging 17 points per game, Nurse is handing a bigger offensive role with ease. In her second season, she should be an all-star.
And as it so happens, Nurse was announced as an All Star starter on Thursday. Heck of an accomplishment for the second year Canadian guard.
Speaking of accomplishments, Charles was named Player of the Week in the East last week. During the games, she averaged around 21 points and eight rebounds against elite frontcourt competition. Stefanie Dolson and the Sky have held opponents to only 55.5 percent shooting inside of the restricted area, so they're bound to give Charles a fight on the interior.
This one's gonna move quickly. Both teams are top four in pace (NY is second while Chicago is fourth) so whoever gets off to a good start can open things up quickly.
Player to watch: Courtney Vandersloot
As one of the best passers in the W, Vandersloot has done a great job finding her teammates quality shots. She leads the league in assists by a healthy margin, although she does turn it over at a healthy rate. In the first meeting between these clubs, Vandersloot scored a season high 25 points and most importantly, only turned it over twice in 32 minutes.
The current runner up for the assist crown will be in the building tonight. Brittany Boyd is averaging around six assists to three turnovers in her 24.5 minutes of gameplay a night. Boyd doesn't space the floor much and with Chicago's interior D, it'll be hard for her to get good looks in this one.
I spent last weekend at Essence Fest, so here's some Mary J. Blige to keep you feeling good