This New York Liberty Prove the Game is Bigger Than Basketball

This New York Liberty Prove the Game is Bigger Than Basketball

By John “Woods” Armwood III

In another sellout crowd for the New York Liberty (14-3), the energy was polarizing and played a huge part in their victory over the Los Angeles Sparks (4-13), 93-80. Prior to the start of the game, the despairing news of Liberty star guard Courtney Vandersloot losing a family member disheartened everyone in attendance. At the start of the game, the Liberty honored her loss by offering a moment of silence and at the end was welcomed with a standing ovation by all of Barclays Center. Therefore, this victory meant a little bit more 

“I mean we’ve been playing for her during a lot of our games now and she’s a big part of our team, however anytime we come together it shows why we play and what’s important in life,” Liberty star guard Sabrina Ionescu states in a postgame interview. “Now, we put our arms around her and her family at this time. It’s important because we know how much she wants to be here to be able to play for us, so we want to do our best to play for her. She’s a huge part of this team and we can’t wait for her to come back.”




New York Liberty Slow Start

In the opening minutes of the game, the Liberty defense began to allow too many easy baskets in transition. Not to mention, it appeared to start the game the offense wasn’t in rhythm. The offense seemed stagnant and lacked ball movement. It was the lowest-scoring quarter they’ve recorded all season (19 points). Once Ionescu began to heat up from deep, the team began to find some life but until then, the Liberty continued to struggle to get key stops. Unfortunately, the following quarter was played with similar efforts, until the Liberty made adjustments by running the offense through Ionescu and former MVP Jonquel Jones. 

“At the end of the day, I want to see her succeed as much as she does,” Ionescu continues. “For me, it’s just using my ability to pass and score and create for her and the rest of my teammates. When you play with someone as good as her it makes my job easy. I can just come off a screen and make a decision, so I think you’re able to see it click now, but there were times we had to figure it out.”

The Liberty began to find success in the high pick and rolls, therefore allowing the offense to open up. Eventually, this allowed the spacing to become more effective and others to get into rhythm. This momentum carried throughout the second half and the two leading scorers were Ionscu and Jones. Both recording nearly double-doubles helped catapult an immensely talented team’s bad start. 




What’s Next for the Liberty?

Despite defeating the Sparks on Thursday night, they will be set to faceoff with the Sparks again at home on Saturday evening. It’s difficult to beat any team twice in any league, however the Liberty ar facing a tough stretch of their schedule and are looking to establish momentum heading into All-Star Break.

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