The team meeting paid off. The New York Liberty went into the desert hoping to snap out of their three-game losing streak. They held a meeting during the week off and went into the game hoping to take what they discussed and apply it in real time. They were able to get the job done with a crucial victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday evening.
The opponent tonight will be the Las Vegas Aces. Bill Laimbeer’s club is the favorite to dethrone the Seattle Storm and win the WNBA Championship this year. They helped the cause with a good win against the Dallas Wings on Sunday night.
Where to follow the game
ESPN3 for your viewing pleasure. Late night affair so we’re getting started after 10 p.m. So it’s almost a double-header. Nets Game 5 begins at 8:30, so there will be little overlap.
Natasha Howard (MCL sprain) is out for another month. Jocelyn Willoughby (Achilles tendon rupture) is done for the year, and Sabrina Ionescu (ankle tendinitis) is day-to-day. Kiah Stokes is in Eurobasket and is out. Reshanda Gray has replaced her on the roster.
Angel McCoughtry and Iliana Rupert are out.
The Aces won the first meeting at the beginning of the month.
What is it with star New York point guards with ankles injuries?! If anybody wants to spare a good ankle, now is your chance!
The Liberty will get some time to take in Sin City. This is the start of a two game mini series that wraps up on Thursday evening. For a team on a long road trip, having a few days to rest up in one city will do them some good.
Shouts to you, Jazmine Jones! Walt Hopkins spoke about her impact after Sunday’s game and said:
“Jaz really put us on her back in the fourth quarter. She kept the offense going, played some great defense. The spark that she is, it’s really remarkable. I thought the times when our offense would break down or Phoenix really locked up and started to guard our actions a little bit better and slowed us down a little bit, Jaz just seemed over and over again to create a shot for herself. She was really tremendous. ... I know there were some really good stats for the other players, but I think Jaz won us that game.”
Jones has been a solid contributor on the team and with Ionescu less than 100 percent, she’ll have some more room to showcase her skills.
Britney Griner hit the Liberty with 29 points and 14 rebounds on Sunday, and it doesn’t get any easier tonight for NY. Liz Cambage is arguably the most challenging big to match up with in the league as she dominates teams in the low post. The overwhelming majority of her offense comes from by the rim, but she can step out to about 18 feet to knock some jumpers down. She made her first three pointer of the year Sunday and although it’s not a big part of her attack, being able to knock one down from deep every now and then will spruce up the Aces offense.
Reshanda Gray and Kylee Shook will look to bump with Cambage on the inside. Although Griner had big numbers against them on Sunday, she did turn the ball over six times.
Get ready to run. The Aces lead the W in pace and the Liberty are right behind them. With a game like this, ill timed turnovers can lead to an onslaught so the Liberty will have to make sure they don’t make any unforced errors against this very talented Aces squad.
Player to watch: A’ja Wilson
MVPs doing MVP things. Wilson is following up her MVP 2020 with another banner season. Wilson doesn’t take threes, but she can stretch out to 20+ feet and is a solid interior scorer and excellent free throw shooter as well. Wilson is sixth in both rebounding and scoring plus eighth in blocks. Wilson is the perfect franchise player and with Vegas hoping to overthrow the Storm, another amazing year by Wilson will help the cause immensely.
All Star voting is officially underway, and Betnijah Laney is definitely someone that will get their fair share of votes. With the way she’s going, she might get some MVP votes as well. Laney worked as the main scoring option, but she added more to her plate with 10 assists. Laney got back with the scoring groove with an efficient 23 points with three made threes in 36 minutes. Laney will anchor a Liberty attack that hopes to light it up from deep to counteract Vegas’ size advantage on the inside.
From the Vault
In a Janet Jackson mood today, so let’s get it
More reading: Swish Appeal
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Liberty continue road trip with back-to-back games vs. Aces - AP
- Ionescu could return ‘real soon’ for Liberty - John Torenli - Brooklyn Eagle