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Liberty and Wings look for their first wins of the season

Dallas Wings v Atlanta Dream Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Baby steps. The New York Liberty put up a good fight, but didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with the fully healed Seattle Storm on Saturday afternoon. The Storm won the game by 16 points.

The opponent tonight will be the Dallas Wings. Like the Liberty, Dallas missed the playoffs last year and feature a very young roster. They played a good game on Sunday against the Atlanta Dream, but couldn’t get over the hump and lost by 10 points.

Where to follow the game

CBS Sports Network is the place to be. Tip off after 8 p.m. ET.


Kia Nurse suffered a scary looking injury during Saturday’s game against the Storm. We later found out that she was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and is currently rehabbing. She’s listed as doubtful and will likely be out for a while. Jazmine Jones is probable with a right ankle sprain. Megan Walker is in Florida, but it’s not known if she’ll be making her debut as she continues to get back in the swing of things following a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.

Marina Mabrey missed Sunday's game with a quad injury. No word on her availability for this game.

The game

With Nurse out of action, Leaonna Odom figures to take her place in the starting lineup. The rookie provided a nice spark of energy in a difficult spot and will be one of the team’s seven rookies that we’ll be keeping a close eye on. She’ll be matched up against the number two pick in the Draft, Satou Sabally. Sabally had a quality pro debut on Sunday against the Dream and this season will be a great chance for her to fully expand on her skillset. At Swish Appeal, Eric Nemchock wrote about her game:

There’s a fluidity to her game that you simply don’t see in many other players. Physically speaking, she has all the tools to become an elite scorer at the next level: length, quickness, athleticism.

Sabally is more than just a typical “project” player, though. As evidenced by the awards and honors she’s earned while at Oregon, her game has evolved to a point where — even on a loaded team — she’s considered one of the nation’s standout players.

Of course, her more famous teammate went first in the Draft. We’ll get to her in a few.

One game in, and we've got a good idea of how Walt Hopkins will run his team's offense. The Liberty attempted 28 threes on Saturday afternoon, but only knocked down six of them. It's a marked increase from their 19 attempts a game in 2019, and while their efficiency wasn't where you'd like it to be, the threes will naturally fall. At least that’s the plan.

When you're as young as the Liberty are, having a vet like Layshia Clarendon will pay huge dividends. Clarendon was outstanding on Saturday, scoring 20 points but more importantly having the Liberty playing at a nice tempo. Having another player in the starting five like Clarendon that can run the show and drive to the basket will be crucial to New York’s chances this year.

Player to watch: Arike Ogunbowale

Can the second year be as good as the first? Following her finish as runner up in the 2019 Rookie of the Year race and third place finish in points per game, Ogunbowale is back and ready to pick up from where she left off. She

This year's Rookie of the Year contender, Sabrina Ionescu, will look to put together a good outing. Her debut against the Storm was a bit hit or miss as she had some issues dealing with Seattle’s aggressive trapping schemes. At the same time, she also made some impressive passes that her teammates didn’t finish, which caused her overall numbers to look less than up to her standard. That said, putting together a respectable debut against the league’s best team is nothing to sneeze at and Ionescu figures to excel tonight.

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Jam session

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