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Liberty face tough test against the Chicago Sky

Indiana Fever v Chicago Sky Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Moving in the right direction. The New York Liberty were back in action as they visited Indianapolis to take on the Indiana Fever. They had a wonderful third quarter and went on to another double digit victory Friday night.

The opponent today will be the Chicago Sky. The champions are feeling good about things and have been on the road for the past few days. In a marquee matchup Friday in CT, they held on to beat the Connecticut Sun by four points.

Where to follow the game

YES Network App is the place to be. Tip after 2 p.m.

Injuries

Betnijah Laney, Didi Richards, and Jocelyn Willoughby are out.

Nothing doing for the champs.

The game

Chicago won the first matchup in May.

Sandy Brondello has spoken about Sabrina Ionescu adjusting to the traps and hard hedges she has seen, and this play from the first matchup comes to mind

After a game against the Minnesota Lynx, we asked Sabrina about these coverages and her experience dealing with them and she told us in part:

“I think just the experience of actually facing these defenses and having to figure out ways to continue to exploit whatever they’re doing and not really letting the defense dictate what I wanna do and getting people involved and attacking. It’s more using it to my advantage. If they wanna trap, alright, we’re gonna exploit the fact that there’s two on the ball. If they wanna hard hedge, whatever it is, I think it’s just taking it one by one and really processing that, slowing the game down, and not letting myself get sped up, and I think the whole team has really helped me with that. Whether it’s Crystal at the one or people flashing and getting open. It’s been a team effort, but it’s been really nice to have actually gone through so many defenses because I feel like I’m getting better and being able to exploit them as an individual.”

For Sab, she’ll look to work around that coverage and do better than she did the first time she saw the Sky. In that matchup, she went 0-5 from the field as she and her teammates couldn’t get anything going. Ionescu has been excellent in the past few weeks and now that she is getting downhill and putting more pressure on opponents, the Liberty offense will open up.

We get to watch Marine Johannes make her home debut! MJ was marvelous in her Liberty return as her 11 points and six assists off the bench helped keep the pace up. Over at Nets Republic, Todd Roman spoke about what MJ can bring to the team:

Johannès can slide into backing up Dangerfield while getting acclimated to Brondello’s system. Meanwhile, this can keep Ionescu solely at the two guard position while also allowing Johannès to spell their star guard as well. With the Liberty’s three injuries, we’ve seen them play a three guard line-up when Whitcomb enters and Bec Allen gets a rest. Having a high volume shooter in Johannès will give the Liberty even more flexibility in their rotations and lessen the minutes played by their starters. New York is also shooting just 30 percent from three-point range (last in the league). Adding in Johannès long range shooting should boost those numbers up significantly.

The team is getting more exciting by the second.

Natasha Howard will look to slow down Emma Meesseman. Big Meesse has fit in well in her return to the W and her first season in the Chi. She’s shooting a career best 56 percent from the field and does everything well for her club. Howard is the captain of the defense and will look to battle Meesseman in the post while also owning the boards. Howard has been awesome in June as her 54 percent from the field has helped pace the attack.

Almost forgot to shout out the legend. Candace Parker is in the house and is rolling as usual. CP3 is averaging around 13 points, eight rebounds, and five assists a night. Parker is the leader of the team and someone you can turn to when you need a big play late. The duo of Stef Dolson and Han Xu will look to continue making positive contributions. Dolson’s passing has been a huge plus for the Liberty in recent games as she and Howard are starting to master the hi-low combination. As for Han, she’s been

Player to watch: Kahleah Copper

The 2021 WNBA Finals MVP is back and ready to make it happen. Copper has a lot more hardware in her trophy case as she won a boatload of awards in overseas competition this year. Copper isn’t the greatest three point shooter, so the Liberty hope that they can force her into a bushel of contested jumpers.

Rebecca Allen left Friday’s game early with a chin laceration, but she’s not listed on the injury report and will be playing this afternoon. The Liberty will need Allen to keep Copper on the perimeter and prevent her from attacking the cup. Allen gives the Liberty some much needed size on the perimeter and another player who can heat up from three point range.

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