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Liberty look to enter the win column vs the Dream

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

They’ve got a lot of fight in them. Despite falling behind by a bunch, the New York Liberty kept playing hard on Wednesday against the Dallas Wings. Even with the loss, there were some great takeaways Walt Hopkins and his squad can, well, take away from the game. Starting with Sabrina Ionescu’s 33-7-7 line, an indication of what the Liberty rookie can do for a long, long time.

The opponent tonight will be the Atlanta Dream. The Dream are looking to get themselves back on track after a subpar 2019 campaign. They faced the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday and fell apart in the second half on the way to a 30-point loss.

Where to follow the game

NBATV has us covered tonight. Tip off after 7 PM. If you miss the game live, YES Network will have the replay around 1 AM.

Injuries

Kia Nurse is listed as questionable for this one after suffering an ankle injury last weekend vs Seattle.

Glory Johnson and Kalani Brown are currently in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. They’ll be out for this one. Courtney Williams has yet to play in the bubble, but may be making her 2020 debut tonight.

The game

I was pretty surprised Nurse was on the court on Wednesday considering how gnarly her injury looked against the Storm, but as she noted, “Ankles recover when they want to recover.” Nurse will be crucial to New York’s season as she will serve as the secondary scoring option on the team and be their most reliable threat from deep.

It doesn’t matter where you are, when you turn the ball over a lot, you’re going to lose. And when you combine that with cold three point shooting, it makes life even harder. The Liberty coughed it up 18 times on Wednesday —five times by Ionescu in an otherwise perfect game— and Dallas took full advantage by scoring 22 points. As the team gets more and more experience with one another, some of those turnovers will naturally decline as players will catch passes in stride and finish at the rim, but it’s going to take time. Luckily, they’re a young team so there’s no pressure on them right now.

Amanda Zahui B has continued to take on an expanded role in the Liberty offense, and she’ll get a good test in the post against Elizabeth Williams who was fifth in the W in blocks last season, so Zahui B ought to be living from the elbows and three point line tonight.

Player to watch: Chennedy Carter

The Draft class of 2020 has been showing out so far, and Carter has been on it two games in. The Dream had a lot of struggles last season, and having a young player like Carter taking the reins of the offense should help immensely. As coach Nicki Collen noted back in May:

“I think what makes me so excited about her is she’s impossible to keep from touching the paint. Her ball skills, her size, her strength, her quickness. To be able to get by a defender and put pressure on the defense, whether it’s to go score the ball herself or give it up, I just think she’s going to be a hard person for pretty much anyone in our league to keep out of the lane.”

As Atlanta heals up and finds their way, having a distributor like Carter will make for a world of difference.

Sabrina!

It took one game, but Ionescu is looking mighty comfortable in the pros. She was sensational on Wednesday as she put up that 33-7-7 line. It could’ve been even better if her teammates had caught some of her other highlight passes, but that’ll improve with time. When you have a star like Ionescu that can heat up in a hurry and find her teammates good looks even when it doesn’t look like anything is available, it opens up a world of possibilities for herself and her teammates.

Jam session

It’s a Beyonce weekend!