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Sun, Liberty face off in a battle for playoff position

Aug 6, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) brings the ball up in the first quarter against the Las Vegas Aces at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Connecticut Sun and New York Liberty have already clinched berths in the WNBA playoffs. With four games left for the Sun and five remaining for the Liberty, all that’s left to play for is seeding and home-court advantage.

If the Sun want to catch the Liberty for second place, a win against them on Friday night in Brooklyn would go a long way.

Connecticut (25-11) has won four of its past five games after topping the visiting Phoenix Mercury 84-74 on Thursday night. Natisha Hiedeman and Tyasha Harris each scored 18 points, while Alyssa Thomas had 12 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in the victory for the Sun.

“The great thing about this league is you have to turn the page very quickly,” Connecticut coach Stephanie White said this week.

New York (28-7) has been off since Monday, when it topped the league-leading Las Vegas Aces at home, 94-85. It was the fourth straight win for the Liberty, who have taken just three losses in 21 league games since the start of July. They were powered by 25 points from Sabrina Ionescu and 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from Breanna Stewart.

Stewart is seen by many as a favorite to win the league’s MVP award, as she ranks second in the WNBA in scoring (23.0 points per game) and fourth in rebounding (9.3 boards per game). Stewart was selected the MVP in 2018.

“I think it’s just a standard she set for herself, one that we’ve been able to witness,” Ionescu said of Stewart this week. “For me, and for us as teammates, it’s just wanting to continue to help her be the absolute best player that she can and understanding how that helps us as a whole.”

The Sun’s lone loss in their past five games was at home to the Liberty on Aug. 24, a 95-90 defeat in overtime. Connecticut hasn’t beaten New York in three tries this year entering the finale of the season series.

–Field Level Media

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