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Liberty host the Washington Mystics

Chicago Sky v Washington Mystics Photo by KeShawnEnnis/NBAE via Getty Images

One second away. On Sunday afternoon, the New York Liberty took on the defending WNBA champions, the Chicago Sky, and were a second away from knocking off the champs. However, Courtney Vandersloot hit a game winner three and handed the Liberty a crushing loss at Barclays Center.

The opponent tonight will be the Washington Mystics. Mike Thibault and friends are hanging tough and figure to be a threat come playoff time. They split a two game set against the Phoenix Mercury after winning 83-65 on Tuesday night in DC.

Where to follow the game

YES Network App has us covered. Tip after 7 p.m.

Injuries

Didi Richards has been hampered by a hamstring injury all season, and is listed as probable to play tonight. Rebecca Allen has been bothered by a non COVID illness and is listed as doubtful. Betnijah Laney and Jocelyn Willoughby are out.

Elena Delle Donne is out for a rest day.

The game

The Libs took the first one a few weeks back.

Sabrina Ionescu will look to follow up one of the best games of her career. Sab had a triple double on Sunday as her 27/13/12 wowed the basketball world. She tied a season high with five three pointers the first time she played Washington and her shooting will look to pace the Liberty attack again tonight. With Ionescu being able to get downhill, it opens everything up for the Liberty and with shooters flanked around her, she will help create a boatload of open threes for her teammates.

Natasha Cloud figures to get the Ionescu assignment again tonight. She had her struggles the first time around as she committed a season high six turnovers in 32 minutes. Cloud turned it up in the fourth as she made big baskets to keep the game close. Cloud put the W on notice that she’s a shooter this year, and it might be a good idea to put that to the test tonight. In June, she’s only shot 17.9 percent from three point range on about five attempts a night. If the Liberty can keep her out there, they’ll have a great chance to shut down the Mystics offense.

Didi Richards figures to be back tonight, but as Sandy Brondello mentioned at practice to Myles Ehrlich of Nets Republic and Winsidr, her minutes will be limited. Having Richards back on the court will give the team a little more size and ballhandling on the perimeter. The team is still a ways away from being at full strength, but they’re getting there day by day.

Like in every game, this will come down to turnovers. The ‘stics are fourth in points off of turnovers and also fourth in opponent’s points off of turnovers. The Liberty are at their best when they’re pushing the ball in transition and getting easy buckets against defenses that aren’t set. They’ll need to be careful and avoid mistakes that will give this team easy baskets.

With no EDD, Myisha Hines-Allen will slot back into the starting five. Allen gives the team some size at the forward spot to help offset the absence of Delle Donne. She’ll look to slow down Natasha Howard. Tash only shot 7-20 from the field, but ignore that. She turned it up in the fourth quarter and made the game winning three point play with the game in the balance. Having a vet like Howard that can shake off a poor shooting night, keep at it on defense, and stay confident in her game to deliver late is incredibly valuable and exactly what a young team like this needs every night.

Player to watch: Shakira Austin

This year’s class of rookies has been pretty darn good! We’ll get to see Rhyne Howard next week when the Liberty take on the Atlanta Dream, and tonight we’ll get to see the third pick. Austin had a hell of a game against future Hall of Famer, Tina Charles, on Tuesday night and got the postgame interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe:

She’s like that! Austin is 17th in rebounds this season and is shooting 58.3 percent from the field as well. Austin can hit some jumpers, but she’s most effective closer to the basket.

The center duo will look to keep the good times going tonight. Stef Dolson’s passing from the high post has opened things up for her teammates and created some great scoring opportunities. Han Xu has been automatic coming off of the bench and is an incredibly difficult cover for opposing bigs. The Liberty were one rebound away from beating the Sky on Sunday, and the dynamic duo will have to own the boards tonight if the team wants to come away with the win.

From the Vault

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