Count it. The New York Liberty were looking to put on a show for the hometown crowd, and they had Barclays Center rocking as they dominated the Indiana Fever on Sunday afternoon.
The opponent is trying to go on a miracle run to sneak into the playoffs. The Seattle Storm are trying to figure things out after suffering their ninth straight loss on Saturday night, this time at the hands of the Chicago Sky. The Sky are a WNBA worst 4-18, but being five games behind the eighth seed with 18 games to go isn’t impossible. However, it’s an extremely hard road and Seattle may be running out of time.
Where to follow the game
YES App on TV. Tip after 7:00 p.m. ET
No Stefanie Dolson or Han Xu.
Jordan Horston is out for personal reasons. I would recommend reading this great story by Cora Hall in the Knoxville News Sentinel to learn more about Horston and her journey.
When the Liberty own the inside, they are impossible to handle. That starts with the play of Jonquel Jones. JJ has been masterful the past two games and has had back-to-back double-doubles. When Jones avoids foul trouble, she gets to be that force on the inside, own the boards, and throw wrenches into opponent strategy. Look for the Liberty to establish her on the inside early so it opens up the rest of the court for the team.
One bright spot for Seattle has been the play of Ezi Magbegor. Ezi the Eraser has blossomed into an All Star and someone that will be a big part of Seattle's future. Magbegor is a dynamo on both sides of the ball and is getting better by the day. Over at Multiplicity Media, Tariq McDowell wrote about Magbegor and said:
“A unique blend of instinct, timing, speed, length, and athleticism makes it difficult for any player trying to score in the paint. Her help side presence is tremendous, and she always competes individually, whether it be on the perimeter or in the post. The versatility she brings is invaluable, she can save defensive possessions.”
Magbegor will have her hands full going up against her former teammate, Breanna Stewart. Stewie didn’t have to work too hard on Sunday as everyone on the team had it cooking from the field. She played a season low 26 minutes and didn’t need to expend too much energy on the court. As the Liberty move into a hectic part of the schedule, sneaking Stewart pockets of rest will be key to the big picture goal Sandy Brondello and the team have.
We’ll get a matchup of two French stars tonight. Gabby Williams is back in the WNBA after a taxing ordeal with the prioritization rules and the French Federation giving her a hard time. She’s here in the W, but with the rules getting even more stringent starting in 2024, who knows what’s to come. In the meantime, we’ll cherish the opportunity to watch her defend tonight. Williams will likely draw the assignment of Betnijah Laney. Laney’s been having a career year from three point range, so teams will try to chase her off the line more frequently. With that, it gives her more flexibility to attack and use all the areas of the court to make things happen.
Williams will be seeing her old pal, Marine Johannes, tonight! MJ put together a great game as her 12 points and three steals led the Liberty bench attack. JoJo mentioned in postgame on Sunday that she’s been overthinking things a bit, which has hurt her game on the court. With Johannes playing well, it allows the starters to get more rest and open up new things for the Liberty.
Player to watch: Jewell Loyd
Loyd has had to put a lot on her shoulders, and she’s held it down. She leads the league in scoring at 24.3 points per game and is the focal point of the Storm offense. With the lack of star power around her, she’s had to be options A, B, and C for Seattle and as a result, is second in the league in field goal attempts. The Liberty have had success guarding Loyd in the past two games, and the job today will be to force her into as many difficult shots as humanly possible. If Loyd makes them, you just gotta dap her up and try again. If she’s cold and you rebound the misses, you can get on the run and make good things happen going the other way.
Sabrina Ionescu will look to put another solid game on the boards. Ionescu had a quality outing on Sunday with 12 points, six assists and four rebounds in 30 minutes. Her three point shooting has been on full tilt all season, and that area is something Seattle struggles with. The Storm have allowed teams to shoot 38.2 percent from deep, highest in the league. If their defense isn’t locked in and Ionescu is able to get open, it’s going to be a rainy night for the Storm.
From the Vault
It’s Beyonce week! Queen Bey will be touching down at MetLife Stadium and you can bet your life we’re hyped as hell for it.