Good vibes, but not a good result. In front of Kevin Durant, Ciara x Russell Wilson, and friends, the New York Liberty took on the Chicago Sky. The Sky finished a two game miniseries sweep with a dominant victory in Brooklyn. The Sky have won seven straight games.
The opponent today will be the Atlanta Dream. The Dream are under new management and are on their way back to respectability and the playoffs. Their chances got sidetracked on Wednesday night after the Minnesota Lynx pulled off a fourth quarter comeback to come away with the win.
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Natasha Howard and Jocelyn Willoughby are out. Howard has begun light workouts, some shooting.
Tiffany Hayes is out. Monique Billings’ status for this one is unknown.
The Dream won the first meeting last month.
The Liberty and Dream will get familiar with each other as they’ll be playing a two game set that will wrap up on Tuesday evening. These two game sets are a nice addition to the W schedule and is something they should utilize in the future the further we get away from the worst of COVID-19.
In off the court news, Leaonna Odom got a new job. She signed on with the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames of the WNBL. From Flames head coach Shane Neil:
“Neah is an incredible athlete. She will play as an undersized big for us and her ability to defend multiple positions is elite.
She has the ability to defend any position in the WNBL and plays with a determination and toughness that will help set the tone for our style of play. She is talented on the offensive end too, with the ability to create her own shot off the bounce and create for teammates.”
More playing time for Odom will do her some good.
It’s good to have Chennedy Carter back. She missed a month due to a hyperextended right elbow, but made her return on Wednesday against the Lynx. She had a good game as most of her buckets came close to the rim as she was able to break the Lynx defense down off the dribble. Her jumper hasn’t been there yet this season so she’s been making her living at the rim. This poses a problem for the Liberty as their best rim protector (Howard) is out on injury. Sami Whitcomb will do her best to keep Tha Carter in front of her and force her into difficult jump shots.
Carter’s 2020 draft colleague is working her way back from injury as well. Sabrina Ionescu has been back in the lineup following her ankle tendonitis and she only played 13 minutes. That can be attributed to the nature of the game as the team was being blown out, so we'll see how long she's on the court for tonight. The shot isn't there, but the court vision is so she can contribute with her passing.
Player to watch: Courtney Williams
Williams was a thorn in the Liberty’s side in the first meeting
COURTNEY WILLIAMS. ❄@CourtMWilliams hits the game-winning 3 in OT for the @AtlantaDream ‼#CountIt pic.twitter.com/1X5hLr7P0f— WNBA (@WNBA) May 29, 2021
as her 31 points and game winning three brought the W to the ATL. Williams has been Atlanta’s go to scoring option and is averaging a career best 17.5 points per game while shooting 41.8 percent from three. Interestingly, her free throw shooting has dipped the last two seasons and she’s at 69.6 percent.
It’s a homecoming. Betnijah Laney was the W’s most improved player last year with the Dream, but they didn’t bring her back. Their loss has been New York’s gain as she's gotten plenty of All Star and some MVP consideration as well. Laney has been the team's top scoring option this year and she will be the person who will most impact NY's chances of victory. The team has been in a three point slump recently, and Laney might be struggling the most out of everyone. She's gone 1-9 from downtown in the last five games and the more she struggles from there, the more stifled NY's offense will be.
From the Vault
Happy 25th to Reasonable Doubt!
More reading: Swish Appeal
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Atlanta Dream Game Notes - Atlanta Dream
- Three things to know about the Dream through rough stretch - Brandon Sudge - Atlanta Journal-Constitution