Brunch and basketball: Liberty welcomes the Lynx to Barclays
Getting there day by day. On Friday night, the New York Liberty traveled to the nation’s capital in search of their first road win of the 2022 WNBA season as they took on the Washington Mystics. In a back-and-forth affair, the Libs made clutch plays to come away with the win on Friday. The team still has a long way to go, but they are making progress and figuring things out along the way.
Today’s opponent will be the Minnesota Lynx. It’s been a turbulent season for Cheryl Reeve’s club, and they hope to get out of their funk soon. They have been out since Wednesday after losing on the road to the Atlanta Dream.
Where to watch the game
YES Network is the place to be. Tipping after 2 p.m.
Betnijah Laney, Didi Richards and Jocelyn Willoughby are absent.
On May 25, Napheesa Collier gave birth to her first child, Mila Sarah Bazzell. She is home to rest and will not be playing as she is on maternity leave. Natalie Achonwa is out with a right hamstring injury. Moriah Jefferson is injured in the left quadriceps. Damiris Dontas is injured in the right foot.
Minnesota won Game 1 in late May.
In Game 1 against the Lynx, the Liberty were too happy and the Lynx reached the free throw line 33 times. In Liberty’s last two wins, the Mystics and Indiana Fever have only managed 29 free throws combined. As Sandy Brondello noted in his Friday night postgame comments, defense is all about effort and will. As the team continues to acclimate to each other, the defense should follow suit and their foul count should decrease accordingly. The Lynx are first in free throw rate, so this will be a great test for that Liberty defense.
The team will have a big task ahead of them at the station this afternoon. Sylvia Fowles is still a dominant inside, and after taking just nine shots against the Dream on Wednesday, she’ll be in more of the spotlight tonight. Meet Kayla McBride:
“Seeing that Syl only shot nine times, I guess in the course of the game I didn’t really see that. And that’s up to me too. I know how we want to play and how important Syl is for our attacking flow, finding his touches. [the Dream] was flooding a lot, which most teams do because Syl is dominant in the paint, but nine shots isn’t enough for our best player. So, you know, we’re going to make an adjustment.
Fowles grabbed five offensive rebounds (14 total) when she first played the Liberty, and it will take an all-out team effort to keep her out of the glass this time. Stef Dolson has played much better in recent games as his rebounds, inside passing and good decision-making have opened up new avenues for the Liberty. Off the bench, Han Xu has been an instant source of attack for the Liberty and a fan favorite. The Liberty will throw its fair share of double teams at Fowles in an effort to make things as difficult as possible for the future Hall of Famer.
McBride will look to lead the Lynx on the perimeter. She’s their top scorer and someone they turn to if they need a big basket late. For the Liberty, they will try to force her to do as many hard shots as possible. With his team shorthanded, McBride will have to put a little more on his shoulders. If New York can shut it down, it will make it harder for Minnesota to win.
Sabrina Ionescu has gone down a lot this week, and it has paid off for the Liberty. She had 15 free throws in the past two games as she was able to attack more and keep defenders on their heels. With Ionescu attacking more, the Liberty are becoming more diverse in attack and they are better equipped to handle the pressure. Ionescu has taken care of three points in the last two games, and if she constantly pushes her shots deep, she becomes even more difficult to defend.
Player to Watch: Aerial Powers
Playing basketball is hard as hell, and I think it’s safe to say it’s even harder when you have a broken nose. That’s what Powers will have to deal with after breaking his nose against the Los Angeles Sparks. Powers will be there today and the Liberty will try to keep her off the foul line this time. Powers had a career-high 14 free throws against New York the first time she saw them. If they can keep her off the line, they’ll have a great chance of extending her cold streak. Powers hasn’t shot above 40 percent from the field the past three games and hasn’t made a three-pointer since May 21. The Lynx will need a lot more AP if it wants to get out of the hole it is in. , and today would be the perfect time to start.
Rebecca Allen has played such an important role in Liberty’s offense since returning from overseas competition. She’s one of the best rim slashers around and someone they can turn to if they’re looking for a late clutch basket. Allen’s versatility on offense and defense makes her an incredibly important part of Liberty’s offense
From the safe
It’s Homecoming at Barclays Center as the Liberty will show various organizations some love. We’re homecoming fans in these parts, and it’s only fitting that we bring it back to our favorite homecoming
Further reading: Swish Appeal, Canis Hoopus, The Next and Winsidr