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Liberty return to action against the Wings on Camp Day

Las Vegas Aces v Dallas Wings Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

It got a bit tense, but all’s well that ends well. The New York Liberty gave up a 20 point lead and let the Indiana Fever take it to overtime, but NY regained their bearings and walked away with a crucial win last week. That win did a few things. It kept them ahead of the Connecticut Sun in the standings, pushed their winning streak to four, and punched their ticket to the Commissioner's Cup final against the Las Vegas Aces on August 15. That’s what you like to see.

The opponent today had a much easier outing before the All Star break. The Dallas Wings hit the road to take on the Minnesota Lynx last Wednesday, and they dominated them in route to a 40 point win. They’ve won their last three games and are 0.5 games behind the Washington Mystics for fourth place in the WNBA standings.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. It’s Camp Day so we getting started after 1 PM.


No Stefanie Dolson or Han Xu. Han is away on special business, as Jackie Powell of The Next and Myles Ehrlich of Winsidr reports:

Diamond DeShields and Lou Lopez Senechal are out. Kalani Brown had been out due to a concussion, but she’s off the injury report and figures to be back.

The game

The Liberty won the first meeting in June. These teams wrap up the season series in Dallas on September 5th.

It’s Camp Day, but also...

The Liberty have partnered with XBox in the past and figure to have more on deck. For those of you coming to the game, put on your best pink outfits and rock out!

Sabrina Ionescu is back, and she’s back after having a three point shootout of the ages...

That’s the good stuff.

Ionescu’s been one of the best three point shooters in the sport this year and the Wings will try to stay attached to her as much as humanly possible. If they find themselves going under screens with her, they’re in deep, deep trouble. Ball movement has been essential for the Liberty and with the attention Ionescu draws from deep, it can open things up for her teammates all across the court.

The other All Star shooting guard will be looking to put on a show today. Arike Ogunbowale is third in the W in scoring at close to 22 points a night. She’s averaging a career high 8.6 three pointers a game, but shooting a career low 29.6 percent from deep. The efficiency numbers aren’t pretty, but maybe we’re putting too much stock in that. Justin Carter of Her Hoop Stats explains:

“She’s someone with a knack for the moment, someone who isn’t afraid to shoot when she needs to. As cliché as this might sound, Arike’s a baller, and she goes out there and balls. Sure, that sometimes manifests in poor shooting performances, but the Wings have finally built a team around her that fits her style of play.”

For a player like her, if you can force her into difficult shots and keep her off the free throw line, you’ve done what you need to do. The Liberty will turn to Betnijah Laney, Kayla Thornton, Marine Johannes and possibly Jocelyn Willoughby as options to slow Ogunbowale down. The effort is there for the Liberty, now it’s a matter of maintaining that discipline and communication on defense to win this matchup.

It’s a homecoming! She was out with injury the first time, but we’ll be seeing Crystal Dangerfield make her return to Barclays Center. She only played one season with the Liberty, but was instrumental in them making it to the playoffs after a 1-7 start. Dangerfield is a winning player and someone teams should always make room for. She’s kept things running smoothly for the Wings and is someone coach Latricia Trammell will count on more down the stretch. CD ought to get a nice reception from the crowd at Brooklyn today once she’s announced.

The frontcourt matchup ought to be incredibly intriguing. In the first game, Breanna Stewart outplayed both Natasha Howard and her All Star teammate, Satou Sabally. Tash went 5-17 from the field and Satou went 6-17 in that first meeting. The Wings are the best rebounding team in the league this season, and a lot of that is thanks to Sabally (seventh in rebounds per game) and Howard (ninth in rebounds per game). Stewart is the league’s leading rebounder, and they’ll need her to battle on the boards to keep Dallas at bay and get out in transition. In the halfcourt, look for the Liberty to find ways to get her clean looks at the basket and find ways to shake Howard and Sabally off of her:

With this being Camp Day, look for Stewart to put on a show for all the young fans that’ll be in attendance this afternoon.

Player to watch: Teaira McCowan

Welcome back, Big T! McCowan was gone for a month as she was with Turkey at Eurobasket. Now that she’s back, she’s slid right back into the starting five. She’s a load to handle on the inside and has shot above 50 percent from the field in every season of her career. She’s ninth in the W in rebounds and gave the Liberty trouble last season. For New York, they’ll try to force her as far away from the basket as much as they can. It’ll take a total team effort, but they’ll be up for it.

Jonquel Jones was saddled with foul trouble early on Wednesday, but she was able to make some key defensive plays late to secure the Liberty win. NY is a bit shorthanded up front, so they’re going to need heavy minutes out of Jones and Nyara Sabally at the five. Jones can pull McCowan away from the basket with her three point shooting, and the Liberty will need that to open things up on the inside for the rest of the team.

From the Vault

For everyone in New York, the Brooklyn Public Library has a special Jay-Z exhibit running for the next month. I went a few days ago and it is absolutely breath taking. If you’re a fan of Jay-Z or rap music, you’ll love it and I highly recommend it. I could be here all day, so let me pull three tracks up before we hit the road

More reading: Swish Appeal, Mavs Moneyball, The Strickland, The Local W, New York Daily News, Fansided, Just Women’s Sports, SI All Knicks, Winsidr, Her Hoop Stats and The Next