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Time running out for Liberty as Mercury pay a visit

Sportsnaut
Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) reacts against the Chicago Sky during the first half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Liberty will begin a critical three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon against Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury.

The Liberty (10-18) have dropped eight of their past 10 to fall out of the playoff picture. They are in next-to-last place in the WNBA standings, yet they are only two games out of the race for the No. 8 seed.

New York, which is just 5-9 at home this season, hosts Los Angeles for two games next week before embarking on a four-game road trip.

“We control our own destiny,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said earlier this week. “We are just going to take it one game at a time and see where we end up.”

New York is coming off an 89-81 loss Friday night in Chicago. Sabrina Ionescu led the Liberty with 16 points and Natasha Howard added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Phoenix (13-16) entered Saturday’s action holding the No. 6 seed for the playoffs after back-to-back victories.

In Thursday night’s 90-80 victory against the Sparks, Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi became the first WNBA player at age 40 or older to score 30 points in a game. In the NBA, only Michael Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki have done that.

“Well, I mean, at this point … when you’re old, everything’s a record,” Taurasi said to ESPN. “The first person to miss 15 3s in a game over 40. First person to have four offensive fouls in a two-minute span over 40. So, at least at this point, I’m just happy with a win. We can be the best team at 40, then I’m happy.”

Skylar Diggins-Smith added 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting against Los Angeles.

This is the second of three meetings this season between New York and Phoenix. The Mercury won 84-81 at home on July 7 as Taurasi and Sophie Cunningham each scored 23 points. They teams clash again in Phoenix on Aug. 6.

–Field Level Media