Back on the grid. The New York Liberty closed out the first half of the season on the second leg of a back-to-back on Thursday night, but couldn’t get over the hump against the Phoenix Mercury and lost by three points.
Joining New York for the festivities will be the Las Vegas Aces. Becky Hammon and the Aces have been wonderful, but they’ve been in a bit of a rut recently. They’ve been off since they lost to the Liberty last week and have lost five out of their last seven ballgames. They’re still in great position and are one of the favorites to win the WNBA title, but they’ve got some things to work on as the season resumes.
Where to follow the game
YES App has us covered. Tip after 7:00 p.m. ET.
No Betnijah Laney. Jocelyn Willoughby is getting closer, but not yet. Rebecca Allen is listed as probable as she makes her way back from the concussion she suffered in June and the hit to the face she suffered earlier this month.
All clear for Vegas.
We’re back from the All-Star Game and everyone who was in Chicago had fun at the events they were able to get to. Read about the game here from our friends at Swish Appeal.
Get ready to run. The Aces play at the fastest pace in the W as they average a blistering 107.3 points per 100 possessions, tops in the W. The Liberty were more than able to keep up on offense and we’ll see if they have enough over the next few days to do it again.
We took a look back at the first half of the season for the Liberty here. Give it a read!
Didi Richards was essential to the Liberty’s defense the past few games, and Sandy Brondello will turn to her again tonight. Richards’ size, physicality, and smarts were crucial to the Liberty holding Vegas to 37.5 percent shooting from the field after halftime. She’s started the second halves of the past two ball games as she gives the team a different element instead of Crystal Dangerfield. Assuming Allen is back, the Liberty will have plenty of size to contest Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, and the other stars on the Aces.
Can Han Xu do it again? Han had the best game of her WNBA career last week as her 24 points on 11-12 from the field to go along with eight rebounds and three assists as she scored in ten million ways last week. The days off will help Han and with the schedule getting tougher, they’re going to need their young center to continue playing great ball.
Team Wilson will be out in full force this week. A’ja Wilson has been the perfect franchise player and face of the WNBA as she has been sensational since she walked into the league in 2018. She and Kelsey Plum were asked about how the league can maintain the energy from All Star weekend, and here’s their response:
EXACTLY THIS! What @_ajawilson22 and @Kelseyplum10 !!! #WNBATwitter #WNBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/HIDL6Opv72— Shuri's Lab Partner (@Dimitri246) July 9, 2022
I see no lies here. Make the game more accessible so the fans can get to see these awesome players as much as possible.
Natasha Howard will look to slow Wilson down. Howard
Player to watch: Kelsey Plum
MVPlum? Kelsey Plum is one of the favorites to win the MVP this season and picked up All Star Game MVP on Sunday afternoon with a silky smooth 30 points on 12-18 from the field. Plum is absolutely electric from three point range and can make life hell for opponents off the dribble as well. The Liberty were able to put more size on her after halftime last week, so it’s going to be interesting to see how Vegas counters and how New York counters the counter. The fun thing about seeing a team multiple times in a row is you get to lock in on certain tendencies and get comfortable with the gameplan.
KP’s All Star teammate will look to put on another show tonight. In her All Star debut, Sabrina Ionescu put up a smooth 19/6/6 with a bushel of threes as well. She brought home her own bit of hardware as she and Zoe Brooks won the skills competition on Saturday afternoon
Fun! For Ionescu, she struggled in the first three quarters against the Mercury, but heated up in the fourth quarter and almost helped the Liberty steal one. She didn’t commit a turnover against the Aces, and the team is going to need to hope she can do something similar tonight. Against an offense as great as Las Vegas is, you have to make sure you make the most out of every single possession when you have the ball. If you aren’t, you’ll be down a bunch before you can even blink.
From the Vault
Becky Hammon coached her first All Star Game on Sunday, so let’s throw it back to her first All Star Game as a player
More reading: Swish Appeal, Nets Republic, Just Women’s Sports, Baseline Sports NY, Winsidr, Her Hoop Stats and The Next
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Las Vegas Aces Game Notes - Las Vegas Aces
- Kelsey Plum, Aces visit Sabrina Ionescu and Liberty - STATS
- Ionescu and Plum clash in New York-Las Vegas matchup - AP