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Liberty try to stem the tide vs Storm

New York Liberty v Seattle Storm Photo by Scott Eklund/NBAE via Getty Images

Ouch. Fresh off a blowout loss to the Las Vegas Aces, the New York Liberty went into Chicago hoping to get back on the right track against a slumping Sky team. Unfortunately for NY, they fell apart in the second quarter and wound up losing by 16 points on Friday night.

The opponent tonight will be the Seattle Storm. The Storm still figure to make noise come playoff time, but they've had a rough couple of weeks. It didn't look that way on Friday when they beat the Dallas Wings by 14 points.

Where to follow the game

This one's an NBA League pass Affair. Tip off after 7 Eastern.

Injuries

Liberty rookie Asia Durr has a minor groin strain. She’s a game time decision. Durr missed the Liberty game in Chicago.

No Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, or Jewell Loyd tonight.

The game

NY won the first game a few weeks back. That game was in Seattle.

Now that Eurobasket is over, the “W” will be getting some reinforcements. Amanda Zahui B and Bria Hartley are back from overseas and with Rebecca Allen healthy, the team is just about 100 percent. That means Katie Smith will have to make some difficult choices about the rotation, which leads to...

The matchup inside will play a big role in determining the winner of this one. Tina Charles had one of her best games of the season that day as she poured in 26 points. With Zahui B back, NY will get some much needed help on the boards. They've been one of the weakest rebounding teams in the W this year, and if they can control the boards, they can play the game at the pace they'd like. For the Storm, Mercedes Russell has been given the opportunity to showcase all of her skills and has been a godsend in substituting for the injured Stewart.

Player to watch: Natasha Howard

The important stuff first. Yesterday, Howard's wife, Jacqueline, accused Natasha of domestic violence in a series of posts on Twitter. Jacqueline provided posts and video where she described emotional and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of Natasha as well as her attempts to get Natasha help from Storm management. Natasha was not made available for comment, but Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel and CEO/general manager Alisha Valavanis released the following statement:

The organization is aware of the recent allegations against Natasha. We are in communication with the league and looking into them

We'll keep an eye on how the team and WNBA league office handles this situation.

On the court, Howard has been exceptional. With the big guns out, Howard has had to do a lot more and she has delivered in spades. Her efficiency is down compared to previous years, but we can attribute that to the big jump in usage as she's averaging a career high 15.6 shots per game after averaging (a then career high) 9.4 last year. Her turnovers have decreased every year she's been in the league and that trend has continued this season. All that's led to Howard being selected for her first All Star Game.

Speaking of first time All Stars, Kia Nurse will look to put on a show. Nurse has been NY's best player and was rewarded with a trip to Vegas for the big game on the 27th. Nurse scored 24 points and poured in four three pointers the first time she played Seattle. If she can play up to that level again, NY will likely come away with another impressive road win.

Jam session

Can never go wrong with Aaliyah