Getting there day by day. On Friday night, the New York Liberty took a trip to the nation’s capital looking for their first road win of the 2022 WNBA season as they took on the Washington Mystics. In a back and forth affair, the Libs made clutch plays to come away with the win on Friday. The team still has a ways to go, but they’re making gains and figuring things out along the way.
The opponent today will be the Minnesota Lynx. It’s been a rocky season for Cheryl Reeve’s club, and they hope they can snap out of their funk soon. They’ve been off since Wednesday after losing on the road to the Atlanta Dream.
Where to follow the game
YES Network is the place to be. Tip after 2 p.m.
Betnijah Laney, Didi Richards, and Jocelyn Willoughby are out.
On May 25, Napheesa Collier gave birth to her first child, Mila Sarah Bazzell. She’s at home resting and won’t be playing as she’s out on maternity leave. Natalie Achonwa is out with a right hamstring injury. Moriah Jefferson is out with a left quadriceps injury. Damiris Dontas is out with a right foot injury.
Minnesota won the first game in late May.
In the first matchup against the Lynx, the Liberty were too foul happy and the Lynx got to the free throw line 33 times. In the Liberty’s last two victories, the Mystics and Indiana Fever only took a combined 29 free throws. As Sandy Brondello noted in her postgame comments on Friday night, defense is about effort and will. As the team continues to get acclimated to one another, the defense should follow suit and their foul numbers should decrease accordingly. The Lynx are first in free throw rate so this will be a great test for this Liberty defense.
The team will have a tall task awaiting them in the post this afternoon. Sylvia Fowles is still a dominant big on the interior, and after only taking nine shots on Wednesday against the Dream, will be featured more on offense tonight. Here’s Kayla McBride:
“Seeing that Syl shot only nine times I guess in the flow of the game I didn’t really see that. And that’s on me, too. I know how we want to play and how important Syl is to our flow on the offensive end, finding her touches. Obviously [the Dream] were flooding a lot which most teams do because Syl is dominant in the paint, but nine shots isn’t enough for our best player. So you know, we’ll make an adjustment.”
Fowles grabbed five offensive rebounds (14 overall) when she played the Liberty the first time around, and it’s going to take a total team effort to keep her off the glass this time. Stef Dolson has played a lot better in recent games as her rebounding, interior passing, and good decision making has opened up some new avenues for the Liberty. Off the bench, Han Xu has been a source of instant offense for the Liberty and a fan favorite. The Liberty will throw their fair share of double teams at Fowles with the goal of making things as difficult as possible for the future Hall of Famer.
McBride will look to lead the Lynx on the perimeter. She’s their leading scorer and someone they turn to if they need a big basket late. For the Liberty, they’ll try to force her into as many difficult shots as possible. With her team so shorthanded, McBride will have to put a bit more on her shoulders. If New York can shut her down, it’ll make getting the win more difficult for Minnesota.
Sabrina Ionescu has been getting downhill a great deal this week, and it’s paid dividends for the Liberty. She’s taken 15 free throws over the past two games as she’s been able to attack more and keep defenders on their heels. With Ionescu attacking more, the Liberty become more diverse on offense and they are better equipped to handle pressure. Ionescu has gotten busy from three point range the past two games, and if she’s consistently knocking down her shots from deep, she becomes even more difficult to defend.
Player to watch: Aerial Powers
Playing basketball is hard as hell, and I think it’s safe to say it’s even harder when you’ve got a broken nose. That’s what Powers is going to have to deal with after she broke her nose against the Los Angeles Sparks. Powers will be out there today and the Liberty will try to keep her off the foul line this time. Powers took a career high 14 free throws against New York the first time she saw them. If they can keep her off the line, they’ll have a great chance to extend her cold streak. Powers hasn’t shot above 40 percent from the field in the past three games and hasn’t made a three pointer since May 21. The Lynx will need a lot more from AP if they want to climb out of the hole they find themselves in, and today would be a perfect time to start.
Rebecca Allen has been such a critical part of the Liberty attack since her return from overseas competition. She’s one of the better slashers to the rim and someone they can turn to if they’re looking for a clutch basket late. Allen’s versatility on offense and defense makes her an incredibly part of the Liberty attack
From the Vault
It’s Homecoming at Barclays Center as the Liberty will show some love to various organizations. We’re homecoming fans around these parts, and it’s only right we take it back to our favorite Homecoming
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Liberty look to topple Lynx, extend winning trend - STATS
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