Keep on keep keeping on. The New York Liberty found themselves down 20 points against a determined Connecticut Sun team. However, New York started fighting back and somehow escaped CT with a miraculous overtime win on Thursday night. At 26-7, the Liberty are closing in on the second seed in the standings.
The opponent tonight is making a charge up the WNBA standings. The Minnesota Lynx have figured things out after a terrible start to the season. They sit in the fifth seed and have a chance to make it up to fourth after they completed a home and home sweep against the Dallas Wings on Thursday night. (Among those in attendance for that game: Dorian Finney-Smith who sat courtside with Mavs owner Mark Cuban.)
Where to follow the game
YES Network is the place to be. Tip after 8:00 p.m. ET.
Marine Johannes is probable with a left foot injury.
Natalie Achonwa is out on maternity leave. Lindsay Allen is out with a hand injury.
We love a raucous, energized crowd. They’re dialed in, give the game extra juice, and make the atmosphere fun to be a part of. However, there’s a difference between a raucous crowd and an unruly one. We saw an unruly crowd at the Lynx-Wings game where some Minnesota fans heckled and harassed Satou Sabally after she injured her ankle. Those fans were denounced by the Lynx and everyone in the game, and stuff like that shouldn’t be tolerated and accepted. Sometimes people don’t know how to act and I need y’all to be better. Please.
The Liberty owned the boards the last time they saw the Lynx. They grabbed a season high 16 offensive rebounds and they used that dominance to wear Minnesota down in the paint. For Minnesota, they’ll have to contend with Jonquel Jones. JJ has been on fire since the All Star break and has been the best rebounder in the W during that time frame. The Lynx will have some more help on the boards as standout rookie Dorka Juhasz is back after missing that game with an injury. Having a big like Juhasz to give Jones some resistance should come in handy for Minnesota.
Everyone likes to play, so what do you do when you’ve been relegated to the end of the bench? For Aerial Powers, she displayed her displeasure by tweeting she’ll be playing with another organization next season. Her situation is pretty unique as it appears Cheryl Reeve and the Lynx have moved on and don’t see her in their future. Makes for an awkward situation for sure.
Minnesota’s future is incredibly bright thanks to their standout rookie. Diamond Miller struggled in the Wings mini-series, but it’s been a banner WNBA debut for the former University of Maryland star. Miller is aggressive attacking the basket and can finish
Sabrina Ionescu will look to put on another All-Star performance. Sab turned it on late against the Sun and has had success in the two games vs. the Lynx. She’s a blistering 13-of-25 from 3-point range in the two meetings so far and her ability to bend the defense opens everything up for her teammates. Combine that with her being a willing passer and the Lynx will have tough choices to make all night long.
Kayla McBride will look to go shot for shot with Ionescu. K-Mac made some history on Thursday as she made her 500th career three pointer. McBride burned the Liberty in Brooklyn and the team will look to play her a bit tougher so she doesn’t get to her sweet spots on the court. Courtney Vandersloot got the matchup guarding her last time, and we’ll see if she gets it again. Sloot hasn’t needed to do much scoring, which works well for this team because they have so many weapons on offense. If she’s able to keep the ball humming on offense while playing heady defense, the Liberty have a great chance to end this road trip on a high note.
Player to watch: Napheesa Collier
MVPhee? You could certainly make a case for it as Napheesa Collier has Phee has powered the Lynx up the standings and has them knocking on the door of a playoff spot. She can do everything well on the court
Collier will be looking to bounce back after the Liberty held her without a field goal attempt in the fourth quarter of the last contest. It promises to be a playoff type atmosphere in the Target Center, and a big night from MVPhee will boost her All-WNBA candidacy.
Her Unrivaled teammate will look to put on a show tonight. Breanna Stewart scored 13 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Liberty pulled off a miracle. The greatest players are always ready to turn up at a moment’s notice and for Stewart, being someone defenses have to worry about ALL the time, puts a lot of extra pressure on them. If Stewie is able to get to her spots on the court and make a living at the free throw line, it’ll tax an already thin Lynx frontcourt even more.
From the Vault
It was a sad week in professional wrestling as Terry Funk passed away at the age of 79 on Wednesday. The Funker was one of the wildest and greatest wrestlers we’ve ever seen and had classics across various promotions and countries. He made life especially hellish on Ric Flair, and they had to settle things in an I Quit match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1989
And on Thursday, WWE star Bray Wyatt suddenly passed away at the age of 36. He was beloved by his peers across the industry and left an indelible mark on the sport. Let’s throw it back to 2017 to see Wyatt take on AJ Styles and John Cena for the WWE Championship
More reading: Canis Hoopus, 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