Sunday hoops! Liberty travel to Chicago to face the Sky

One more good one. The New York Liberty hosted the Connecticut Sun on Friday night and cruised to a 31 point victory in front of a sold out crowd. The win was their fifth in a row and clinched at least the second seed.

The opponent today is fighting for their playoff lives. The Chicago Sky have been off for the past few days after they escaped Los Angeles with a one point victory over the Sparks. The W gave the Sky the tiebreaker over Los Angeles.

Where to follow the game

ESPN2 is the place to be. Tip after 3:00 p.m. ET.


Sabrina Ionescu sat on Friday due to a right calf issue. Sandy Brondello said it was a precautionary/rest measure, and they hope she’ll be back this afternoon. She’s officially listed as questionable.

Alanna Smith is out with a concussion. Rebekah Gardner and Isabelle Harrison are out.

The game

New York got game one, Chicago got game two, and NY got game three. This is the last regular season meeting between the two teams.

Assuming Ionescu is out again, Marine Johannes will be trusted to keep the party going. MJ got the spot start on Friday night and scored 18 points in 30 minutes. The Sky have been one of the best teams at defending the three in the league as they allow only 19 three point attempts a night (fewest in the WNBA) and only allow teams to shoot 33.3 percent from downtown (third best in the league). In the last meeting, Ionescu and the Liberty lit the Sky up from deep, but if Sab is out, it’ll be a little tougher for Sandy Brondello’s club out there.

The Liberty defense has been magnificent, and they’ve been led by the all around excellence of Betnijah Laney. The Bee for Defensive Player of the Year is underway and she’ll have the assignment of guarding her pal from Rutgers, Kahleah Copper. Copper is coming off a great game against the Sparks that ended with her hitting the game winner in the final seconds. In the last meeting against the Liberty, foul trouble contributed to a rather quiet 3-9 from the field. The Liberty’s switching defense has been terrific in the second half of the season, and possessions like these highlight their continued growth

As Kayla Thornton explained to the media in the postgame press conference following that game:

“It’s not just going to take one person, it’s going to take a collective. And I think we did a good job with her and executing our gameplan.”

Defending great players is a hard job, but when you have great teammates behind you, it makes it a bit easier. Look for the Liberty to throw a bunch of looks at Copper to throw her off her game.

For Chicago, the playoffs begin now. Their margin for error is practically zero and they’re going to need big efforts this entire week if they want to make it into the playoffs. A big game to watch in particular is Friday night’s home game against the Minnesota Lynx.

Homecomings are always fun. Courtney Vandersloot and Stefanie Dolson are back in the city where they won the WNBA Championship back in 2021 and should receive loud ovations from the Chi town faithful. For Vandersloot in particular, she’ll look to outplay Marina Mabrey. It’s been a bit of a rocky season for the Sky’s big off-season acquisition, but she can erase all of that with a big finish to end the season.

Player to watch: Elizabeth Williams

The rebounding battle will tell the tale of this one. On the season, the Sky rank ninth in the WNBA in team rebounding rate, but Williams is doing the best she can to remedy that. She’s second on the team in rebounding, but fifth in the league in blocks per game. Williams’ ability to protect the paint will be essential against a Liberty team that has made it a point to get to the basket. Without Smith, she’ll have Morgan Bertsch and former Liberty draft pick Sika Kone as her help in the frontcourt. With the playoffs fast approaching, the physicality will pick up so look for Williams to make her presence felt on the interior.

Jonquel Jones continues to put solid nights together. JJ only played 21 minutes on Friday, but when you dominate from the beginning of the game and win by 38, you get to rest up a little bit more. JJ put a hurting on the Sky the last time she played them as she scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds, handed out four assists, and blocked two shots. The Liberty have taken off, and a lot of that is thanks to JJ hitting her stride. With one week to go before the playoffs go, Jones will look to put some more solid days together before things pick up.

From the Vault

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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

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