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Liberty look to stay perfect at home vs. Dream

Atlanta Dream v Indiana Fever Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

One more time. The New York Liberty came back home to take on the Dallas Wings in front of a happy Barclays Center. The team gave them even more to cheer about as they pulled away late and came away with a solid victory Monday night.

The opponent this afternoon will be the Atlanta Dream. The Dream are looking to keep up the success Atlanta hoops teams have had and get back into the playoffs. They helped the cause by beating the Dallas Wings on Thursday night in the A.

Where to follow the game

YES app and Amazon Prime has us covered. Daytime affair so the party's getting started after 2 p.m.

Injuries

Leaonna Odom has been upgraded to probable. Jocelyn Willoughby is out. Natasha Howard left Monday’s game with a knee injury and she was diagnosed with a sprained MCL. She’ll be out four-to-six weeks.

Chennedy Carter is in COVID protocols and out.

The game

Both the Knicks and Nets lost last night, so New York basketball needs the Liberty to restore the feeling.

A lot of changes in Atlanta. The biggest one came in the ownership group as Kelly Loeffler was defeated in the Georgia Senate race thanks to WNBA players AND wound up selling her ownership stake in the team to a group led by former Dream player Renee Montgomery.

On the coaching side, Nicki Collen was there one day and gone the same day. She was with the team throughout camp but dipped out to grab the Baylor head coaching job after Kim Mulkey went to LSU.

Tiffany Hayes, shouts to you. Tip is having an excellent year and is shooting a career best 58.3 percent from 3-point range. Hayes is the vet on this young team and having a player that’s been with the franchise in good times and bad will help guide this team to the playoffs. In our neck of the woods we’ve been talking about NY hoops being back. Atlanta hoops is back too now that the Dream are looking good again.

Without Howard for a while, Kiah Stokes and Kylee Shook will have to step in and step up. They’ll have their hands full with Monique Billings as she’s one of the best rebounders in the W even though she comes off the bench.

Possession will play a big role in this one. The Dream have done a great job limiting their turnovers this season while the Liberty have turned it over the second most in the W this season. To make matters worse, the Dream are second best at forcing turnovers.

We made it this far without discussing the super sophomore. Sabrina Ionescu will look to push the squad to another victory and with Howard out, she’ll definitely have to pick up the slack. Great thing about her is that she doesn’t let a slow start or rough shooting night keep her from influencing the game. It’s the sign of a great player and one you can always count on.

Player to watch: Chennedy Carter

There’s more than one super sophomore in town today. Hollywood has built on her all WNBA Rookie team campaign and is third on the team in scoring this season. One change from the wubble to this season is she’s getting to the rim a lot more as 42 percent of her shot attempts have come inside of three feet. It’s helped her get to the free throw line more often and her 92 percent from the line is one of the best in the W.

Revenge game on deck? Betnijah Laney will be facing her former team today and she’ll look to keep her 20 point streak going. Our pal Nekias Duncan wrote about Laney in a recent story and said:

The self-creation from Laney is obviously important. I’m also impressed with her off-ball usage. She isn’t just a great shooter, though a 52.2% clip from deep is nothing to sneeze at. She’s a smart mover, able to find cracks in the defense to stress weakside defenders.

There’s also sneaky value being added as a screener in some of the Liberty’s more intricate sets. Ionescu doesn’t have an opening night game winner without help from Laney.

She can score from anywhere on the court and with this one expected to be close, a marquee showing against her former squad would definitely be a nice way to wrap this week up.

From the Vault

I’m in a Patrice Rushen mood, so let’s start the day right

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