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Liberty begin road trip against the Minnesota Lynx

Minnesota Lynx v Las Vegas Aces Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

A rocky road. After a great Opening Night victory, things have been tough for the New York Liberty. They took on the Connecticut Sun Tuesday night at Barclays Center and wound up setting a franchise record for turnovers in route to a 27-point home loss. The L dropped them to 1-4 on the WNBA season and the team is hoping that the week off will do them some good as they move on.

The opponent tonight will be the Minnesota Lynx. It’s been a rough start to 2022 for Cheryl Reeve and company. They lost to the Dallas Wings on the road on Saturday night and are now 1-6 on the season.

Where to follow the game

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Lorela Cubaj is in concussion protocol and will miss this game. Betnijah Laney is out with a right knee injury. Jocelyn Willoughby will be out six weeks due to a quadriceps injury. Didi Richards is out with a right hamstring injury.

Napheesa Collier is not with the team as she is pregnant and expecting her first child. Damiris Dantas is out with a right foot injury. Natalie Achonwa is questionable with a right hamstring injury.

The game

The beauty of having one coach in place for a long time is that you get to bring back awesome plays against one of your toughest rivals...

I love me a good callback!

It’s always great to see a legend get their flowers, and as Sylvia Fowles plays her final season, teams across the WNBA are showing how much they love and appreciate her.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Tonight, Stef Dolson and the Liberty bigs will look to keep the Sylvia Fowles off the boards as best as they can. The Liberty have had their woes on the glass (last in the W in rebounding) and Fowles is one of the best rebounders in basketball history. If the Liberty are able to keep it close on the boards, it will help them control the pace and get out more in transition. They’re going

As the Lynx prepare for their future, it looks like Jessica Shepard will be a big part of it. Over at The Next, Lucas Seehafer wrote:

The former Notre Dame star is the deftest passer on the Lynx and currently leads the team with 27 assists; her 23.8% assist percentage is more akin to that of a point guard than a frontcourt player. Shepard particularly excels in the high-low post game with Fowles as she possesses both elite court vision and a soft touch, allowing her to set up her All-World teammate for easy looks even in crowded areas.

Shepard is a few years removed from her ACL tear and the further you get from injury, the better and stronger you’ll be.

With no Laney, Sabrina Ionescu will have to take on more of the scoring responsibilities. She’s had her struggles against larger teams thus far, but figuring that out is something she and the coaching staff will continue to improve on.

The Lynx will be seeing an old friend. Crystal Dangerfield signed with the Liberty on Saturday on a hardship contract as Willoughby will be out for six weeks. Dangerfield will play point guard and help them push the pace. With the team being shorthanded, she'll have a lot on her plate tonight.

Player to watch: Kayla McBride

Basketball never sleeps, and basketball can take you all over the planet. For Kayla McBride, the game and better pay led her to Turkey where se had the time of her life. Even with the jetlag and travel, she’s here to ball and here for her teammates. After her game winning three point play against the Los Angeles Sparks, she spoke about it and said:

“There’s no way I could’ve been sitting on the sidelines today, as exhausted as I was. That’s just kind of in my DNA. There was no way. I’m never going to take these moments for granted. I enjoyed every moment of it, as exhausted as I was. Thirty-eight minutes? Hey, whatever. Whatever it is, rest up and that’s just kind of the name of the game the women play.”

She loves the game, and the game loves her back.

McBride is one of the team’s captains and someone who will look to make it happen on the perimeter. She’s someone that can score on the perimeter and with an injured Liberty backcourt, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to make something happen.

On the Liberty, Rebecca Allen is back after her own stint overseas. Allen was a bit jetlagged as she made her debut on Tuesday and naturally struggled as a result. With the time to get acclimated and rested, look for her to be much better tonight. With Willoughby, Laney and Richards out, a lot will be on her shoulders. We asked Allen at practice on Saturday what’s the biggest goal for the team tonight and she said:

“I think the biggest goal is to translate what we’re doing here at practice. I think that’s the first step. I think we also built on today from what we did the other day. It’s constantly making these little victories is what Sandy said, too. And I really want us to play a faster game. That’s one of the biggest goals, personally, collectively. Play fast, move the ball, I think it’ll be more enjoyable playing like that as well.”

Having Allen back and pushing the tempo will do wonders for the team as they try to snap their losing streak. Play fast, play confidently, and play with passion. Do that and the W will be theirs.

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