New York Liberty
Photo by Riley Lorenz

Is it time to panic for the New York Liberty?

The New York Liberty dropped the first two games of the WNBA Finals to the Las Vegas Aces, placing themselves in a difficult predicament. In order for the Liberty to win the WNBA championship, they will have to win three consecutive games. That said, when the Liberty defeated the Aces in the Commissioner Cup in August, they started a three-game losing streak for the Aces. Although this appears unlikely, unexplainable occurrences have taken place in the past. This doesn’t appear to be the best situation for the Liberty, however it’s the reality they’ve set for themselves moving forward.

“Vegas is playing their best basketball at the moment,” New York coach Sandy Brondello said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, you see the chemistry that they have. And for us, we haven’t taken the steps forward, we haven’t shown it. We’re disappointed, very disappointed because we’re a way better team (than) what we showed.”

Throughout Game 2, the Aces made an emphasis to establish a defensive presence and apply pressure on the Liberty non-stop. Naturally, this allowed for more opportunities in transition by causing numerous uncharacteristic Liberty turnovers that led to easy points or just better isolation situations for Vegas' explosive guards. Fortunately for the Aces, their team is led by one of the most profound leaders and players in the WNBA, Chelsea Gray, as she has helped their communication and overall play on the court dramatically.

“It started with our defense,” Gray said. “We kept our pressure up, our physicality and we were able to play with our flow offensively.”

Offensive Struggles Continue for the Liberty

The Liberty guards continue to struggle to find their rhythm. During Wednesday night's game, the Liberty shot 9-of-34 from the floor. Betnijah Laney finished 4-of-15, Sabrina Ionescu was 2-for-10 and Courtney Vandersloot, who didn’t score her first point until the fourth quarter, was 3-of-9. The trio — which combined to shoot 40% from three-point range during the regular season — is now 20-of-60 (33.3%) from the field in the series, including 8-of-33 (24.2%) from beyond the arc.

“We know what’s on the line and we had to make sure we came out and took care of home court,” Aces forward A'ja Wilson said.

What’s Next for New York

The Liberty face elimination on their home court as the WNBA Finals comes to Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon as New York host the Aces at Barclays Center.