Work to do, work to do. The New York Liberty played a tough three quarters against the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday morning / afternoon, but you need a complete game to beat great teams. And unfortunately for NY, their fourth quarter was 10 minutes of nightmare fuel and they lost by 19 points.
The opponent today will be the Washington Mystics. Mike Thibault and friends are in route to making it back to the playoffs and figure to be a difficult foe for whoever sees them in the first round. They helped the cause by beating the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday afternoon. More on the circumstances behind that in a bit.
Where to follow the game
YES App has us covered. Last Camp Day of the year for the Liberty so the party’s getting started at 11:30 a.m.
No Betnijah Laney. Michaela Onyenwere sat out with a minor injury on Tuesday, and she was listed as having a left knee injury on the team medical report. She will be out for this contest.
All clear for the Mystics.
On Wednesday morning, there was a rally held in Washington DC where a mural was unveiled for Brittney Griner and other US Nationals that have been wrongfully detained overseas. Sandy Brondello and the Liberty pulled up to show support for the cause
DAY 153.— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) July 20, 2022
Members of the @nyliberty and Coach @SBrondello visited the @BOFHcampaign’s mural at 3125 M Street NW today. This mural features 18 wrongfully detained US Nationals including our member, @brittneygriner.#WeAreBG #BringThemHome#WeAreNotThe144WithoutBG pic.twitter.com/2JAa7x5dX8
The tie that binds in the WNBA is that the travel accommodations suck. Players have to ride commercial to every game, and that leads to players being exhausted on game day, which in turn limits their chances of winning. Cheryl Reeve rightfully called out WNBA management about their lack of communication regarding the Lynx’s travel issues. However, Mike Thibault wasn’t trying to hear ANY of it:
Thibault apologized to Reeve and the Lynx after the game, and they’re back cool with one another. We talk a lot about doing right by players, and the conditions in which they work are at the top of the list. The league office and team owners are fully aware of this, and it’s on them to do right by the players and create better work conditions.
The big talk around Natasha Cloud this season has been her improved shooting from deep, but she had her struggles against the Liberty last time as Marine Johannes and the Liberty slowed her down after she was giving them trouble in the first half. Since that June matchup, Cloud has been playing at an All Star level, averaging 11 points and seven assists on .475/.390/.647 shooting splits over her last ten games. Cloud is the engine that gets the Mystics going and if the Liberty can slow her down again (she also had a season high six turnovers against the Liberty in the first game), they’ll be able to get a much needed victory.
One person that will be integral to New York’s chances today will be Rebecca Allen. Bec played 24 minutes and blocked three shots along with scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds on Tuesday. New York desperately needs someone that has the size, athleticism, and ability to attack the basket that Allen brings. The further away she gets from her concussion, the more she will look like her old self and the greater her role will be.
When the Liberty are in a rut, they tend to get sloppy with the basketball. The Mystics are the perfect team to exploit that weakness as they are third in opponent’s turnover rate this season. The Liberty have to keep the turnovers down so they can limit the opponent’s ability to get easy baskets in transition and so that they can make the most out of every possession imaginable.
Player to watch: Elena Delle Donne
It’s hard to be under the radar when you’re a two time MVP, but it feels we’ve forgotten about how incredible Delle Donne is. The Mystics have been very judicious in managing her games played in the first half of the season as she is back to the game after dealing with back and general health issues for two years. It’s paid off and then some for Washington as her 17 points and six rebounds a night on .489/.417/.889 shooting splits in 27 minutes per game has been outstanding. EDD is taking a lot more threes this year than we’re used to seeing from her, but when you’re 6’5 and can score from everywhere on the court, why not let that bad boy fly from deep?! She played against the Liberty in her first game against them, but didn’t get to the free throw line in 30 minutes. New York will try to make EDD work hard on both sides of the ball in an attempt to slow the future Hall of Famer down.
Natasha Howard will be looking to bounce back after a pretty rough game on Tuesday morning. Tash had a season high seven turnovers on Tuesday as she couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm in her 27 minutes on the court. Friend of the site, Myles Ehrlich of Nets Republic and Winsidr, was in Uncasaville for the game and caught this image of Didi Richards and Michaela Onyenwere providing positive encouragement to Howard as she fought through her struggles on Tuesday. Without Onyenwere, the Liberty are down a four. Jocelyn Willoughby is back, but the team may not want to play her heavy minutes with this being her second game back from injury. Either way, the Liberty will need their All Star to lead them on offense in addition to the work she does on defense.
From the Vault
It’s summer time, so it’s only right we put on one of the all time summer jams
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Washington Mystics Game Notes - Washington Mystics
- Washington takes home win streak into matchup with New York - AP