Last show before we hit the road. The New York Liberty are wrapping up their 2020 “wubble” season after losing to the Washington Mystics yesterday afternoon.
The opponent today will be the Dallas Wings. The Wings have managed to hang tough and are within striking distance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Their road got a little bit bumpier after a close loss to the Chicago Sky on Friday night.
Where to follow the game
CBS Sports Network and YES Network on TV. Day party so tip is after noon.
Sabrina Ionescu and Layshia Clarendon are out.
Satou Sabally is out with a concussion. Allisha Gray missed Friday’s game with a knee injury and her status for this one is unknown.
This is a makeup of the game that was postponed when players decided to sit out due to the shooting of Jacob Blake. We talked about the return to action here in a separate story.
As a team, the Liberty have been through a lot this year, but it looks like they’ve grown closer to each other as the season progressed. For a team as young as they are, they knew there were going to be some growing pains. It’s a credit to the coaching staff and the veterans (Clarendon and Amanda Zahui B) that they were able to keep everyone united through what has been a trying 2020 for all of us.
The Wings will need some help to get into the playoffs. If they win and the Mystics lose to the Atlanta Dream, they're in the playoffs. Lose, and they're out. Simple enough.
With this being the second half of a back-to-back and the last game of the season, look for the Liberty to try and end things on a high note. I expect this to be a game in which all the players will see some time on the court. The wubble has been a battle of attrition and as a team you want to make it out with everyone healthy.
Player to watch: Arike Ogunbowale
This is the time of year when your stars have to bring you across the finish line. Ogunbowale is very familiar with pressure packed moments in her basketball life and with today being a playoff game for the Wings, she'll need to be excellent. She leads the league in scoring and is second in minutes, so expect her to be out there for as long as necessary.
As a scorer, she can create havoc in so many ways. As she told Nekias Duncan:
“I can make stuff happen when the ball’s in my hands, but obviously defenses don’t want the ball in my hands. When I do get it, they’re trapping and doing other things. So if the ball is on the other side, I need to move and get to spots so I can get open more quickly.”
Good luck slowing her down.
Kia Nurse will look to provide some scoring punch on the last day of the year. She was back in the starting lineup yesterday and was pretty effective in her 33 minutes on the court. When everyone's back next season, I feel like she'll return to her All Star form form 2019 and perhaps be even better next to Ionescu, Asia Durr, etc. This season was rough, but the future is bright in Brooklyn.
One bright spot: Jazmine Jones, the 6’0” Liberty guard, was named to the ESPN All-Rookie team. Jones, a Louisville product, was taken 12th overall in the Draft. Sabrina Ionescu, the overall No. 1 pick, played only three games before she severely sprained her ankle. She was averaging 18.3 points a game when she got hurt.
With the worst record in the WNBA over the last two years, the Liberty will have a 44 percent chance of getting the overall No. 1 pick again. The WNBA Draft Lottery, which hasn’t been scheduled yet. is nothing like the NBA Lottery.
Its draft lottery is comprised of the four teams that did not make the playoffs. Starting with the 2017 Draft, lottery odds are determined by taking into account the team’s two-year cumulative record.
The Lottery Team with the worst two-year cumulative record —the Liberty— has 442 chances out of 1,000 to win the first pick. The Liberty had the No. 1 overall pick in 2020 and the No. 2 overall pick in 2019. Asia Durr, taken with that 2019 pick, missed much of the 2019 season with a groin injury and missed all of 2020 battling COVID-19.
Let’s wrap the 2020 season up with Vanessa Williams.
On behalf of everyone at NetsDaily, we wanted to thank you for checking out our second season of Liberty coverage. It’s been a pleasure covering them and we look forward to doing a lot more of it in the years to come. See y’all on the other side!
- Game Notes: New York Liberty - New York Liberty
- Game Notes: Dallas Wings - Dallas Wings
- Wings-Liberty Preview - STATS/TSX
- Liberty’s final matchup against Mystics completely different from first - Sarah Valenzuela - New York Daily News