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Surging Liberty face tough challenge against Sky

Sportsnaut
May 24, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker (3) brings the ball up court against the Indiana Fever during the first half at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Liberty were in the midst of a difficult start the last time they played the Chicago Sky.

The Liberty hope for a different result Sunday afternoon when they face off against the reigning WNBA champions at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

New York (5-8) dropped seven of its first eight games to start the season, including an 83-50 loss to the Sky (8-4) on May 11. The Liberty have turned things around, winning two straight and four of their last five.

In their 97-83 win over the Indiana Fever on Friday, New York racked up 31 assists, with Sabrina Ionescu dishing out seven to go along with 13 points.

Natasha Howard added five assists and scored a season-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds to record her first double-double of the season.

“We shared the ball and had fun,” New York coach Sandy Brondello said. “But there are more challenges. Chicago is a great defensive team. We have to keep building.”

Chicago’s defense is allowing 77.2 points per game, fourth-best in the league. Brondello said the Sky will present a good test for her team.

“We have an opportunity to learn. A win would be great, but it’s an opportunity to learn and grow to get to where we want to go,” Brondello said.

The Sky are coming off an 83-79 win against the Connecticut Sun on Friday, fueled by Emma Meeseman’s 26-point outburst. It was the fourth win in the last five games for the Sky.

Chicago has five players averaging 10 or more points per game, led by Candace Parker (13.1). Rookie Rebekah Gardner is near the double-digit scoring average mark (9.7).

“We have so many weapons at every position,” Gardner told the Chicago Sun-Times. “As long as we stay in games and keep up our defensive intensity, our offense will come.”

–Field Level Media