New York Liberty

New York Liberty Fall to the Chicago Sky at Home

Thursday night, the New York Liberty (4-1) took on the scrappy Chicago Sky (2-1) and allowed them to expose some glaring weaknesses, 91-80. Despite the tough loss at home, the Liberty fans still showed up and showed out for their home team. Nearly securing a soldout crowd on a Thursday night is extremely impressive and speaks to how far the WNBA has come.

Combined with the return of Chicago Sky head coach and New York Liberty legend Teresa Weatherspoon, it proved to be a ton of energy and nostalgia that played into the game's dynamic. The Sky came out wanting to win this game for their head coach, and the Liberty wanted to defend their home court and remain undefeated. In the past, these two teams have history and tend to make entertaining battles. 

Sky Bring Liberty Weaknesses to Forefront

In the game, it was no secret that Weatherspoon wanted to be aggressive to put pressure on the Liberty. This method and mentality worked perfectly as former MVP and Liberty enforcer Jonquel Jones got in early foul trouble. Ultimately, drastically affecting the game and how the Liberty were forced to defend. Not to mention, the guards of the Sky found a way to get downhill and attack the Liberty guards, who appeared to struggle on the perimeter. 

“We wanted all five on the floor to be aggressive and in attack mode, even if you’re on the bench the mentality is always attack mode,” Weatherspoon explains in the post-game conference. “Of course, we had to take advantage of Jonquel not being on the floor. She’s an incredible basketball player with an inside, outside, on-the-perimeter, off-the-bounce, and midrange. So, it gave us a chance to get a run of her own with her absence.”

Defensively, the Sky philosophy allowed them to take the Liberty out of their game. Consistently, the Sky managed to run the Liberty off the three-point line, as well as fighting and contesting through screens to minimize the shooting gaps from that mountain of screens. Despite the scoring efforts of Chicago star guard Marina Mabrey, leading the Sky with 21 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, followed by multiple players in double digits, the biggest takeaway was the defensive effort of the Sky and holding the liberty below their season scoring average (88 points). 

“I feel like it speaks to the players we have on this team, not everybody wants to go out there every night and wants to defend,” Mabrey emphasizes. “It’s not easy, and it's not fun. Therefore, having those personalities that are willing to dig deep and find that strength to keep trying to guard, especially these amazing players in New York. It takes a ton of mental strength, so it speaks to our focus.”

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