Liberty close out June at home vs. the Atlanta Dream on Pride Night

Make it happen. The New York Liberty were on the road Friday night facing the Atlanta Dream and tied a franchise record with 16 three pointers made as they went on to a double digit victory. The win got them closer to .500 and a bit higher in the standings as well.

The Dream are back on the marquee tonight. They were on the road against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night, and it didn’t go all that well. They got blown out by the Mystics and lost by 18 points.

Where to follow the game

Yes Network App and Twitter got us tonight. Tip after 7 p.m. And in some more fun business, this is the only WNBA game on the marquee. That’s the third straight time that’s happened for the Liberty.

Injuries

Jocelyn Willoughby is out, but she might be back pretty soon, as soon as the upcoming road trip in fact. Rebecca Allen is out of concussion protocol and now in return to play protocol. She’s on the way back, but is out tonight. Betnijah Laney is out, but on a happy note, it looks like she got married over the weekend! Congrats to her and her hubby, Jordan Hamilton.

Nia Coffey is out with a right knee injury. Tiffany Hayes has been out with a knee injury, but is listed as probable for tonight’s game. Same for Kia Vaughn, who’s listed as probable after returning to the court on Tuesday.

The game

The game last Friday was won on the boards. The Liberty dominated the glass in the first and fourth quarters, and that powered them to the victory. If they’re able to keep on the boards, they’ll be able to stay ahead and control the flow of the game.

The stars will be out tonight. The WNBA All Star Game will take place on July 10th at Wintrust Arena in Chicago and we’ll get a chance to see three players take their star turns tonight.

Rhyne Howard has been having a great rookie season and will be heading to Chicago for the All Star Game. The Liberty are catching her at the right time as she’s in the midst of an extended slump. Over the last four games, Howard is only averaging 13 points a night on a .269/.214/.769 shooting split. She can finish well at the rim, but most of her shot attempts in this stretch has been from the perimeter as she hasn’t been getting to the cup on a frequent basis. The Liberty did a great job defending her last week as they forced her into tough jumpers all game long. Marine Johannes will get the initial assignment once again and will look to keep the star in check. We had a chance to speak with MJ on Tuesday, and you can read it here.

2022 Pride Parade in NYC

Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Tonight is Pride Night at Barclays Center, and the team will be commemorating Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community. The team will also be handing out a donation to Callen Lorde, an NYC non-profit that works with marginalized communities. The Liberty have done a fantastic job engaging with the community, and partnering with an org like Callen Lorde will help expand their reach and improve the lives of New Yorkers.

With the Dream getting some players back, they had to say goodbye to Maya Caldwell as her hardship contract came to an end. It’s an unfortunate circumstance and another sign that the league should expand roster spots soon.

The Liberty’s dynamic duo will look to put on a show for the hometown fans before they hit the road. Natasha Howard was named an All Star reserve on Tuesday and she’ll look to control the boards once again tonight. Howard did most of her damage in the post last Friday and if she’s able to cash in on her shots at the rim, the Dream will have to put more focus on her, which will in turn create clean looks for her teammates elsewhere.

The Dream hope to slow Sabrina Ionescu down this time around. Ionescu knocked down five three pointers in route to a great 21/9/8 evening last week. When Ionescu is able to knock down her threes, it opens the paint up for her teammates as opponents have to respect what she can do from deep. Ionescu has been able to figure out the myriad of defenses thrown at her and if she’s able to exploit the Dream’s pick and roll coverage, she’ll be in line for another All Star caliber night.

Player to watch: AD

It’s always good to see good people do well, and AD has regained their footing now that they’re back home. AD was on fire against the Liberty as they sparked an Atlanta comeback and led the team in scoring with 23 points. Over at Nets Republic, Justin Carter wrote about AD and said:

It felt like there was a hesitance this season with AD. That they weren’t getting shots up quick enough. That’s gone in Atlanta. And maybe it’s as simple as getting on the floor more, which helps with their conditioning and gets them into the rhythm of things. Maybe it’s about having the green light to score, which didn’t really seem like it was the case in New York. AD felt like the fifth-option whenever they were on the floor.

In Atlanta, injuries and just the general depth issues there mean that they’re one of the primary scoring options. And that’s resulted in a new-look AD.

Seeing AD begin to reach their potential in Atlanta and get an extended opportunity to play after being away due to long COVID is amazing and we hope they can keep it rolling. AD should also get a warm welcome from the Liberty faithful tonight as this is their first game back in Brooklyn since the trade.

In a bit of roster juggling, the Liberty released Crystal Dangerfield from her hardship contract. Now, don’t worry as she’ll likely be signed back the moment the team is able to. Of course, that would put the Liberty over their roster allotment of 12 so someone would have to go. We’ll see how things shape out from here.

In the meantime, they’ve only got nine players available tonight and Sami Whitcomb will move back into the starting five. After struggling from the field early on, Whitcomb has figured things out and has helped provide her teammates space on the floor. With the Liberty roster likely to be replenished by the time they come back from the break, they’ll lean on Whitcomb a bit more over the next week.

From the Vault

Monica was recently on NPR’s Tiny Desk, so it’s only right we head back in time and pull up one of her many bangers

and not to be outdone, Usher is next up on the Tiny Desk stage!

More reading: Swish Appeal, Just Women’s Sports, Winsidr, Her Hoop Stats and The Next

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