Fight on. It was a chippy, intense, playoff atmosphere on Monday evening as the New York Liberty played the Dallas Wings. The Wings used an excellent fourth quarter to clinch a playoff spot and beat the Liberty. After this, NY heads to the ATL to face the Atlanta Dream on Friday night
Same opponent tonight so just read above.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. Tip after 8 p.m.
Natasha Howard was out on Monday’s game due to his left ankle
Arike Ogunbowale is out for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the WNBA playoffs after she underwent an Iliac Crest Core Muscle Avulsion Repair. Satou Sabally is still dealing with an ankle injury and is out.
Dallas won the first game.
Teaira McCowan figures to be a thorn in the Liberty’s side again tonight. Big T cut the Liberty up for 16 points and nine rebounds on Monday night as she worked over Liberty defenders in the post. She’s impossible to handle, and as Nekias Duncan of Basketball News noted:
McCowan’s ability to seal and drive players backward can bring a defense to its breaking point. It allows her to get deep positioning for easy buckets or drawn fouls, of course. But because she threatens the rim to that degree, she also forces double- and triple-teams down low. For a team missing its no-doubt-about-it coverage breaker in Ogunbowale, McCowan has given the Wings a much-needed pressure point in the half-court.
The Liberty will look to throw a bunch of double teams at her so they can force the other Wings to beat them. Something Han Xu will have to do tonight is avoid gambling for steals on entry passes. She’ll need to play straight up defense and hope that her height can help counteract McCowan’s strength advantage. They are going to need Han and Stef Dolson to give their best performances of the season if they want to slow down Big T in the post.
We’ve reached the point where we watch the standings for teams across the WNBA. The Atlanta Dream lost last night to the Las Vegas Aces and the Los Angeles Sparks lost to the Connecticut Sun after another league created travel nightmare. Later tonight, the Phoenix Mercury will host the Minnesota Lynx in a game that will have huge playoff implications.
If Howard is able to play, it will give her team a much needed jolt of energy. Howard’s scoring, defense, and finishing at the rim will be much needed for a Liberty offense that sometimes goes into droughts. She’ll also provide some size when the team doubles and triples McCowan in the post. Ankle sprains are tricky, but if Howard is close to full strength, she’ll be able to help the team.
Player to watch: Marina Mabrey
It’s quite the sight. Dallas is without their high usage star, and the team has been better without her. With Ogunbowale out, the Wings offense has more ball movement, is more dynamic, and is more difficult to slow down. Leading the charge is Marina Mabrey. She’s been taking on more of the shot creating responsibilities with Ogunbowale out, and it’s been paying off. She torched the Liberty for a career high 31 points as she was able to break them down off the dribble, hit clutch buckets, and have a counter for every run the Liberty threw at her team.
Sabrina Ionescu will look to follow up her excellent game on Monday night. It was then she scored a season high 32 points as she put on a third quarter masterclass. She’s a fighter and will be ready to get down to business tonight. She was the only Liberty player to attempt a free throw on Monday, and that is simply not sustainable. Her teammates will have to attack the basket and put pressure on the Wings that way. If they can, it’ll open things up for them on the perimeter and give the offense enough juice to make it out of here with a win.
From the Vault
Yesterday morning, Serena Williams announced that she would be retiring from the sport of tennis following the US Open later this month. Serena is an American icon
And that fun time she was in a music video with Memphis Bleek (along with Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, and Teresa Weatherspoon) and the Roc-a-Fella crew!