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Liberty are back to take on Sun in Connecticut

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Minnesota Lynx v Connecticut Sun Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Back at it. The New York Liberty are back on the East Coast after a solid West Coast swing. They last played on Friday night when they beat the Phoenix Mercury by 22 points. At 25-7, things are looking up for Sandy Brondello and friends as we head towards the stretch run.

The opponent tonight is hot on the Liberty’s heels for second place. The Connecticut Sun had been in a tough three game losing streak, but they’ve started to escape their recent malaise. They helped the cause by beating the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night in DC.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for us. Amazon Prime for the rest of y’all. Tip after 7 PM.


All clear for New York.

No Brionna Jones as she continues to recover from her Achilles surgery.

The game

The Liberty took the first game in May and second in June. These teams wrap up the season series on September 1 in Brooklyn.

We’re celebrating some birthdays! On Sunday, Sandy Brondello and equipment manager AJ Garrison. The best birthdays are when you don’t have to work, but when they did get back to work, they celebrated with the team:

Fun times!

The Sun defense is still terrific, and the Liberty’s ball movement will be put to the test tonight. The Libs are second in the WNBA in 3-point shooting, and the Sun are the best at defending the three. The length of players like Rebecca Allen is critical to Stephanie White’s defensive strategy, and Bec will chase her old friend Sabrina Ionescu around tonight. Sab has been on fire in her last six regular season games as she’s averaging 19.7 points a night on 48/52/100 shooting splits.

So who’s the Sun’s second best player? The answer’s probably DeWanna Bonner. DB leads the team in scoring and is the player that Connecticut turns to in crunch time. She’s able to bail out possessions when the offense is stuck in the mud and can heat up at a moment’s notice. Betnijah Laney has gotten the matchup against Bonner in each of the first two matchups and figures to get it again tonight. Laney has been essential to the Liberty’s improving defense and the team’s ability to switch everything is based in large part on Laney’s all-around excellence.

Every game is important down the stretch, and for the Liberty, a win would clinch the season series over the Sun and give them a 3.5-game lead on the second seed in the East standings. Homecourt advantage is such a blessing and if the Liberty can have it for as long as possible, it’ll help their title push.

The extra days off did Breanna Stewart some good. Stewie is fourth in the WNBA in minutes per game, but she only played 30 minutes on Friday vs. the Mercury. It was her lowest total in a month, and when you win big, you get to rest your superstar a bit more. The Liberty are back on their every other day routine, so having a fully charged Stewart will be essential against a team as good as Connecticut. She

Player to watch: Alyssa Thomas

Without Brionna Jones, AT has moved to center and she’s kept up the excellent play. She’s a triple double machine and a dynamo on the fastbreak. Thomas also anchors their defense and can guard any player on the floor. She’s one of the MVP contenders this year and will need to play at that level if the Sun want to beat the Liberty. The MVP campaign is on, and the Sun are doing the full court press for AT

They’ll need an MVP-type performance from their superstar. She went 0-of-5 from the field in the first matchup and 5-of-17 in the rematch back in June. The Liberty have been doing a great job of making things hard on opponents at the rim, and they’ll look to use their size to bother Thomas when she’s in the paint.

Jonquel Jones will look to put on a show in her old stomping grounds. In the first matchup back in Uncasville, JJ had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and a season high four blocks. JJ has unlocked a new level for the Liberty and has been a force on the inside since the All Star break. The Liberty are currently second in the W in rebounding, and a lot of that is thanks to the dominance JJ has had on the inside. Without Bri Jones, the Sun are down to only two bigs in Thomas and Olivia Nelson-Ododa. ONO has seen her minutes decrease in recent games, so the Sun are essentially down to one big. If the Liberty are able to own the interior, it’ll tire Thomas out enough so New York can take advantage.

From the Vault

Happy birthday, Kobe!

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