I said it earlier this season, but I'll say it again because it's true: Weight classes exist for a reason. The Washington Mystics are one of the favorites to win the WNBA Championship while the New York Liberty are... not. Put two and two together and you get a wire-to-wire 29 point Mystics win on Sunday afternoon. That’s how it is.
The opponent tonight will be the Phoenix Mercury. It's been a bumpy season for Sandy Brondello's bunch, but the sun is starting to shine for them. They're getting closer to full health but did lose their last game on Sunday to the Chicago Sky.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. Tip off after 7:30.
Asia Durr is still dealing with her groin injury.
Alanna Smith is out.
Hey, DT's back! Diana Taurasi has been dealing with various injuries all season, but she returned to the lineup Sunday evening without any restrictions and hopes to be the push that carries Phoenix deep into the postseason. After the game, she spoke about her recovery attempts and talked about the now retired Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck:
DT said she’s had some Andrew Luck moments. When she watched his interview yesterday with her wife, Penny Taylor, she felt his pain … quite literally after rehabbing two injuries to get back on the court this season pic.twitter.com/bXt02SjsF1— Alexis Mansanarez (@almansanarez) August 26, 2019
We sometimes forget that athletes, especially athletes near the top of their crafts like Luck and Taurasi, have devoted most of their lives to getting to and staying at this level for as long as possible. And when your body betrays you, you lose a big part of your life without having a chance to fully adjust to your changing circumstances.
If the game is close, Dewanna Bonner will save the day. Bonner is one of the best scorers in the W and is someone Phoenix counts on late for perimeter scoring. Her usage has predictably gone up due to Taurasi's prolonged absence, so it'll be interesting to see how they fit next to each other coming down the stretch.
Bonner scored 30 points last time out against NY, so Tina Charles and company will have their hands full tonight. With Amanda Zahui B back, Charles will slide over to the four. Charles will hope to keep NY afloat against the league's fourth best offense.
Player to watch: Britney Griner
It's been an interesting month for the six time All Star. She got into a fight with Kristen Anigwe of the Dallas Wings and got suspended three games because of it. Griner spoke about the frustration about how she and fellow bigs like Liz Cambage and Sylvia Fowles have been officiated:
"Me, Liz [Cambage], and Syl [Fowles] are big. I get it. But it doesn’t take away that if I go to shoot and they raise up my arm and slap my hand, that’s still a freakin’ foul. It doesn’t matter if [Mystics guard] Kristi Toliver is hitting me, it’s a foul. It still alters your shot. It doesn’t matter how big you are.”
Basketball officials always have trouble officiating bigs (see Shaquille O'Neal from 1992-2011) so Griner joins a long line of players who hate how they're officiated. It's tough, but they've got to figure how to manage it.
In the meantime, she's managed to excel despite those issues. BG is averaging 20 points and seven boards a night while continuing to be one of the best low post scorers in basketball. Now that the Metcury are as close to 100 percent as they can be this season, they hope that they can make a long playoff run.
Amanda Zahui B will be the one tasked with slowing Griner down. Zahui B has been back for about a week and hopes to make life tough for Griner.
Sunday marked 18 years since Aaliyah passed away. Let’s celebrate her great music
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty