The New York Liberty didn’t get much time to bask in the Commissioner’s Cup victory over the Las Vegas Aces. Two days later they again faced off against the top-ranked team in the league, and this time the Aces prevailed 88–75. The Liberty had no time to lick their collective wounds because the next night they played the Phoenix Mercury, putting New York back on track with an 85–63 win.
“We know what’s at stake,” said Betnijah Laney, who with 22 points was the Liberty’s leading scorer in the win. “Regardless of any obstacles, we try to stay together and be our best.”
Liberty coach Sandy Brondello referred to the victory over the Mercury as a “take care of business game.” In fact, it was Brondello’s first victory in Phoenix over the Mercury, the team she coached for eight seasons, winning a WNBA Championship in 2014 and reaching the Finals in 2021. This win also marked Brondello’s 205th coaching victory, tying her with the late Anne Donovan for the eighth-most wins in WNBA history.
Asked about fatigue after a busy and intense week, Marine Johannès, who had 18 points off the bench in the Phoenix win, said, “We knew it was an important game for us. Playing back-to-back is not easy. After the game yesterday, we just have to switch and be ready for today, and I think we did a good job.”
Laney noted that the Liberty players are starting the second half of games with increased intensity. “That’s been a big emphasis for us, and we’ve taken on the challenge of being able to come out and just make it a point to be great in the third quarter,” she said.
Sabrina Ionescu contributed 18 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in the win. Ten Liberty players saw action in the game, with nine scoring.
At 25–7, the Liberty remain the second-ranked team in the league. They’re in action tonight at the Connecticut Sun. The team returns to Barclays Center on Monday for the fourth regular season match up with the Aces. Las Vegas currently holds the edge at 2–1, and the Liberty are looking to even that score.