One more on the board. The New York Liberty had the national TV slot on Sunday afternoon as they took on the Dallas Wings. NY used a spectacular third quarter to come away with an impressive victory in front of the hometown faithful on Pride Day. After tonight, the team has a few days off before they’re back in action.
The opponent tonight is one we saw a few days ago. The Atlanta Dream are hoping to get back into the playoffs, but the road has been a bit bumpy recently. They wrapped up a three game homestand on Sunday, but lost as the Connecticut Sun beat them 89-77. The L was Atlanta's third in a row. Tonight is the first leg of a four game road trip for Atlanta.
Where to follow the game
YES App for us. CBS Sports Network for the rest of y'all. Tip after 8:00 p.m. ET.
Sabrina Ionescu is questionable with a left hamstring issue. The Asia Cup has begun, and Han Xu will be playing for the Chinese team. It runs until July 2, so we won't be seeing Han in our neck of the woods for a while.
Aari Mcdonald and Danielle Robinson are out. Iliana Rupert is playing for France at Eurobasket and is out.
The Liberty won the first game on Friday.
Young teams tend to be loose with the basketball, and the Dream are true to form. They are second in the WNBA in turnover rate, and they committed a season high 26 turnovers on Sunday against the Sun. The Sun punished them by scoring 42 (!!!) points off of those turnovers. While the Liberty didn't score 42 points off of turnovers last week against Atlanta, 21 isn't too bad in its own right. New York made a lot of hay on Sunday in the second half against the Wings, and with the Dream looking to push the pace, this could present an opportunity for the Liberty to get easy baskets on the run.
The Dream are a little bit undersized, and that's a big problem against this Liberty team. Jonquel Jones continued her string of good games recently and in the first matchup, was able to get great position and make things happen at the rim.
Atlanta tends to get foul happy (third most opponent free throws attempted per game), and that’s trouble against a team that shoots as well at the line as the Liberty do. With Atlanta being so shorthanded, they can’t afford to have any of their starters saddled with foul trouble. It’s going to take a total team effort to get the win, and it’ll be a great test for a young team looking to climb the ranks.
Rhyne Howard has been in a bit of a mini-slump. The young star has shot a combined 34.8 percent from the field in her last three games, all of which Atlanta lost. If the Liberty can keep her mired in a slump, they’ll have a great chance to walk away with the win. Even last season, the Liberty have had success keeping Howard out of the paint. It’ll be up to the dynamic duo of Betnijah Laney and Kayla Thornton to slow Howard down.
Breanna Stewart will be looking to put
Player to watch: Allisha Gray
Getting downhill is the name of the game, and Gray is one of the best in basketball at it. After she got to the free throw line 12 times on Sunday, she explained her approach to Hunter Cruse of The Next:
“I’m just being aggressive; when I go left, I mean, I’m all out. [For me], it’s just finding little ways to keep the defender on my body and draw the foul, but most importantly, just continuing to be aggressive.”
Gray is the perfect star for a young team looking to take the next step. She’s a great finisher at the rim, solid defender, a sneaky good rebounder, and a great passer. Atlanta is starting rookie guard Haley Jones at point guard, and Gray x Howard will need to pick up the slack when it comes to ballhandling and shot creation duties.
The beauty of this Liberty team is when one star is out, there's someone in the wings ready to pick up the baton. With Ionescu less than 100 percent, that presents an opportunity for Marine Johannes to fill in. The thing to remember about MJ is if you are moving and open, she’ll find you
Johannes has fit in well now that she’s back form overseas obligations.
From the Vault
A few weeks ago, Lifetime aired TLC Forever, a documentary about one of the great groups in American history. It’s only right we have a little TLC double play
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Atlanta Dream Game Notes - Atlanta Dream
- High-scoring Liberty look for another win over Dream - STATS