It’s been a rollercoaster season so far for the New York Liberty. After losing seven of its first eight games this season, the Liberty has started to find its way as a team, with the squad bouncing back to win two straight before losing a tough one on Sunday to the Minnesota Lynx. The Liberty came within one point after being down 19 in the second half, but couldn’t finish the comeback.
After the game, Rebecca Allen talked about the Liberty’s improved play. “I just think we’ve been playing a lot harder. We’ve been playing with grit, and the full 40 minutes are being used defensively,” Allen said.
The Liberty is still without Jocelyn Willoughby and DiDi Richards and just learned All-Star Betnijah Laney will be out for another two months. The Liberty is receiving an extra boost from Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard. Sabrina Ionescu is averaging 26 a game over the last three, while Howard has dropped 17.6 a game.
Sunday featured a homecoming celebration of HBCUs. Second year forward Michaela Onyenwere was moved by the singing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” before the game. “It was obviously a great tribute. Being a Black person in this country, it’s good to see that represented. I’m really happy to be a part of an organization that encourages and celebrates that,” she said.
These games against the Lynx also marked the last two in which the Liberty home crowd can watch the WNBA’s all-time leading rebounder, 2x Champion, 4x Olympic gold medalist and 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles.
Fowles finished Sunday’s game with a typical stat line of 18 points and eight rebounds. Natasha Howard, who has played with Fowles, shared, “She had a huge impact in the WNBA since she stepped foot into the
WNBA. Playing with her when I played in Minnesota. How she put me underneath her wings and just guided me to becoming the next great post player in the WNBA as well. I really appreciate everything that she’s done in the league.”
Stefanie Dolson added, “It’s been incredible to play against her and with her during USA Basketball. She’s an amazing player. Her career has been incredible. You know all the accolades she has as a post player. I’ve looked up to her, and she’s an inspiration to a lot of bigs.”
The Liberty defeated the Lynx 88–69 on Tuesday night. Five Liberty players scored in double figures. The Liberty returns to Barclays Center on Sunday afternoon to take on the reigning WNBA Champion Chicago Sky.