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Rebecca Allen returns to New York as Liberty host Sun

Connecticut Sun v Washington Mystics Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Home is where the wins are. The New York Liberty opened up the home portion of their schedule with a dominant win over the Indiana Fever. After this wraps up, the Liberty hit the road for a few days and will meet some old friends along the way. For more on Sunday’s game and the Liberty at large, watch my conversation with Erica Ayala of Black Rosie Media!

The opponent today has been one of the more surprising teams so far in the WNBA. A lot of people expected the Connecticut Sun to fall off, but they’ve exceeded expectations. First year head coach, Stephanie White, has this Sun team off to a 3-0 start after they swept a home and home set with the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.

Where to follow the game

CBS is the place to be. Day party so we getting started at 1:00 p.m. ET.


Marine Johannes is not playing, but she’ll be back very soon.

All clear for the Sun.

The game

One thing about the Sun is they have a lot of length. One of their new players, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, has impressed Sun fans so far and has a boatload of potential. Over at Uproxx, Mark Schindler wrote about ONO and said:

Nelson-Ododa is a different kind of presence for the Sun, capable of altering and deterring shots around the rim with her length and positioning. Standing at 6’5 with a significant wingspan, that’s been felt in earnest by opposing offenses. Her deterrence extends out to the perimeter, however, part of what separates her from other bigs with shot-blocking skills.

ONO will look to slow down a Sun legend. This is Jonquel Jones’ first game against the Sun and she’s coming off a pretty good game on Sunday as she scored 14 points and grabbed three rebounds in 17 minutes of action. The Liberty can hurt you from anywhere, and when players are on the move and drawing defenders to the basket, good things will sprout as a result.

The team is taking its time and managing JJ’s minutes, so they won’t be pushing her much. The Sun are still a tremendous rebounding team, so this is gonna be a big night for Stefanie Dolson. Dolson gives the Liberty some physicality on the interior and someone who’s passing will open things up for her teammates.

On the perimeter, the Sun have some more length to throw at the Liberty. Dewanna Bonner leads the Sun in scoring and is someone that will cause trouble. Betnijah Laney and the Liberty held Indiana’s top scorer, Kelsey Mitchell, in check last Sunday. At practice a few days ago, I asked Bee about the challenge in defending DB, and she told me:

“Just kind of the same thing, just stay aggressive, stay in her space, knowing her moves and everything. It’s just [knowing your personnel] at that point and just continuing to stay down and disciplined on defense.”

Against a team as well coached and well organized as the Sun, it’s going to take a total team effort to beat them.

We have a gold medal matchup at the four this afternoon. Alyssa Thomas has been on a magnificent run in recent years and is the engine that powers the Sun. AT is a battering ram in the post, terrific on the boards, a lockdown defender, and someone who can turbo charge the Sun break. For the Liberty, they’re going to have to clog the paint and dare Connecticut to beat them from deep. The Sun are last in three point attempts and ninth in efficiency, so the math might work out in New York’s favor.

On the other side, Breanna Stewart is looking to put on an encore performance. Stewie set the franchise record in scoring with 45 points on Sunday afternoon and had Barclays Center in awe.

Player to watch: Rebecca Allen

Homecoming! For seven years, Bec Allen was a valuable member of the Liberty. She was with the franchise through various cities, arenas, and ownership groups. Through it all, she grew as a player and was a key contributor on New York’s playoff teams. 2022 ended on a down note as she was sidelined in the FIBA World Cup due to an injury that was later diagnosed as two fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. Bec missed Euroleague play as she was on the mend recovering. After her preseason debut, I asked Bec what it was like to be back on the court after she was out with a severe injury:

“I’ll be honest, it’s an emotional thing for me coming back and playing this game. I don’t think anyone will ever know the mental side of that last injury has been for me. So to come back and play honestly with confidence is something that I am super proud of. I also love that I’ve got the support from everyone else here too, coaches and players so that helped.”

Now that Allen is back, she’s back to wreaking havoc on the defensive side of the ball

Allen is coming off the bench for Connecticut, and should get a rousing ovation from the Liberty fans in Brooklyn. She deserves it.

Sabrina Ionescu didn’t need to worry about scoring on Sunday as Stewart had that department under control. Instead, she had a good all around game as her nine points, eight rebounds, and eight assists kept things humming along for the Liberty team. The beauty about having five A+ scoring options in the starting five is you can ride the hot hand on any night and trust your players to make something happen. The group is getting more and more comfortable with each other, and with that comfort comes easier opportunities for each other. Ionescu spent a lot of time in the offseason working on having a quicker shot release and being better at getting past defenders, and a matchup against Allen and the Sun will be a good test of those gains.

From the Vault

Tomorrow night, Succession wraps up its four season saga. With that in mind, it’s only right we spent a little extra time with Kendall Roy!

And on a sad note, Tina Turner passed away at the age of 83 on Wednesday. Let’s throw it back to one of her biggest jams

More reading: Swish Appeal, The Strickland, The Local W, Just Women’s Sports, SI All Knicks, Winsidr, Her Hoop Stats and The Next