In their first ever Juneteenth-themed game, the New York Liberty got blown out on their home court, 92-72. New York was trying to ride momentum after eking out a win against the Sparks in LA but instead took another beating in the first of two home games against the Chicago Sky.
The Liberty are now 7-7, the Sky 9-7.
Despite improving on their turnover count from Sunday’s matchup against the Sparkers — going from 29 to 16 giveaways — it’s still an unsustainable number, especially when shots are not falling from behind the arc as they were Tuesday.
The Liberty get a greater portion of their points from 3-pointers than any other team in the league, but could only land six of their 28 attempts tonight and saw the misses add up on the scoreboard.
As usual, Betnijah Laney led the way for Liberty with 18 points, on 58.3 percent shooting (7-12) from the field, and 80 percent (4-5) from the perimeter as she continues her All-Star push. Laney also dished five assists and snatched five rebounds, seeing as she’s been promoted to the role of lead ball handler with Sabrina Ionescu still getting situated after her brief absence from the lineup due to injury.
Ionescu led the team in minutes played against the Sky with 27. She had 6 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds as well as a team-high in plus/minus with -1. Postgame, Laney commented on Ionescu’s performance: “I think she was really good. She had 8-6-7 or something... I think we saw some of what she was capable of doing [tonight].”
Head coach Walt Hopkins kept it brief, saying: “she took some steps tonight and I was really happy to see that.”
As for Chicago, high-profile free agent acquisition Candace Parker led the team in scoring with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, 3-of-4 from three, as well as a game-high 12 rebounds. Star point guard Courtney Vandersloot added 10 of her own along with 10 assists, notching her second double-double against the Liberty this year.
Steve Nash drops by
Nets coach Steve Nash stopped by at Barclays Center to take in some Liberty action He was spotted at halftime taking some pictures with fans, and then again after the final buzzer offering some words of wisdom for Ionescu ....
Postgame, Steve Nash spoke with Sabrina Ionescu as she headed off the court. pic.twitter.com/QzEeex0GR5— Alec Sturm (@Alec_Sturm) June 23, 2021
Here are the game highlights...
The Liberty will face the Sky at Barclays again on Thursday in the team’s annual Pride game. The game will be broadcast on the YES Network at 7 p.m.