Getting it done. It took some heavy lifting late, but the New York Liberty added another win to their tally after beating the Chicago Sky, 77-76, on Friday night. The W was their fourth in a row.
Where to follow the game
YES Network for us. CBS Sports Network and Paramount Plus for the rest of y'all. Tip after 2:00 p.m. ET.
All clear for New York.
Isabelle Harrison is out after undergoing knee surgery. Ruthy Hebard is out on maternity leave. Rebekah Gardner underwent foot surgery on Thursday and is out indefinitely. Morgan Bertsch is out with an ankle injury. Kristine Anigwe will be leaving to go to Eurobasket and will be out about six to eight games.
For the first time all season, the Liberty lost the battle on the boards as the Sky won the rebounding matchup, 38-28. Chicago grabbed ten offensive rebounds and although it only led to nine second chance points, having to expend even more energy after the initial defensive stop does take its toll.
It's something Sandy Brondello noted in postgame on Friday and an area the Liberty will try to clean up today.
On a night where your All-Star doesn't have it going, it helps to have a great backup option. Sabrina Ionescu had her worst game of the season, but Marine Johannes was able to come in and kept things moving smoothly. Johannes played 20 minutes in her return from France, and it’s going to be interesting to see the guard rotations from here. When you have three excellent guards on the roster, you can manage minutes more closely and rid the hot hand as you see fit.
Kahleah Copper of the Sky looked like she suffered a really bad ankle injury on Friday night, but she was able to tough it out and scored a game high 20 points. It was a total team effort for NY as they made every shot tough for Copper and held her to 1-8 shooting from the field after halftime. With Chicago being so shorthanded, a lot will fall on her shoulders.
Something interesting has been happening the past few games. The Liberty have been deliberate about getting the ball to Jonquel Jones early in the game and she has started strong in each of the last two games. JJ is still working herself back to full strength following her foot injury, and she’s getting there day by day. With more time and distance from the injury, she’ll be even more dialed in to the attack.
Alanna Smith happened to have the best game of her WNBA career on Friday night, and she’ll try to do it again for Chicago this afternoon. She scored a career high 18 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field in 34 minutes, but was in foul trouble for much of the night. She’ll draw the Breanna Stewart assignment again, and she’ll try to slow down the reigning Player of the Month. The great thing about Stewart is that even when she isn’t firing on all cylinders, she does everything else you need to win ballgames.
Player to watch: Marina Mabrey
It’s hard to replace a legend, but Mabrey is doing her best. She’s running point now that Courtney Vandersloot is in New York, and will be the second scoring option after Copper. She’ll be looking to bounce back from a rough outing on Friday as she only went 5-14 from the field with three turnovers. The Sky need top tier performances out of Mabrey every night out if they want to win, and she’ll be locked in and eager to get back on the good foot.
The box score may not reflect it, but the real recognize Betnijah Laney’s continued excellence
Laney’s traded in some of her offense for even better defense, and it’s kept the Liberty humming along. As one of the team leaders, she sets the tone every night out and always gives great effort. Sandy Brondello is a big proponent of attacking the basket, and six of Laney’s eight field goals came right at the rim on Friday night.
Being able to push the pace and get easy baskets like that is of the utmost importance for this Liberty club, and we’ll see if they can play faster going forward.
From the Vault
A special shout to one of the greatest artists of all time and a Chi City hero, Curtis Mayfield
- New York Liberty Game Notes - New York Liberty
- Red-hot Liberty look to complete sweep of Sky - STATS
- New York plays Chicago, seeks 5th straight victory - AP