After an action-packed four-game slate on Tuesday night, there’s only one game in the WNBA tonight between the Phoenix Mercury and New York Liberty at the Barclays Center. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on NBATV, but locally on YES and SN1. You can live stream it through NBA.com.
The Mercury head into tonight’s contest as one of the hottest teams in the league with a four-game winning streak. Phoenix last played on Saturday afternoon, where they defeated the Atlanta Dream 84-69. The Mercury were led by Olympian Skylar Diggins-Smith, who put up a game-high 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range. She also added a team-high 7 assists and 6 rebounds in the victory.
As for the Liberty, they suffered a tough 86-83 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday afternoon at the Barclays Center. New York had five players in double figures, including Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb, who each scored 17 points. However, New York could not get out of their own way, despite shooting over 40% from three-point range and the field. The Liberty turned over the ball an incredible 22 times, while the Sparks only had 10 turnovers.
Can the Liberty snap their two-game losing skid with a win over Phoenix? Or will Diana Taurasi and the Mercury dominate New York for another road win? Let’s break down some notable matchups and give out a best bet for the lone game on the schedule.
Sabrina Ionescu vs. Diana Taurasi
This is the first team these two point guards will be facing off against each other. We have the old school point guard in Taurasi vs. the new school in Sabrina Ionescu. Taurasi, who is one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in the WNBA, has showed no signs of slowing down.
Taurasi is producing 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game this season. The former first overall draft pick is also the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer. Ionescu is averaging 10.5 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game in her first full season in the W. The top pick in the 2020 WNBA draft only played in three games in her rookie season due to a season-ending injury.
Brittney Griner vs. Liberty’s frontcourt
The Liberty will have to figure out how to step Mercury center Brittney Griner, who should be in the conversation for MVP. Griner was just named the WNBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week on Wednesday. The Olympian has played a major role in the Mercury’s recent win streak, averaging 20.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Liberty center Natasha Howard will have her hands full trying to defend Griner, who has carried over her tremendous play from the Tokyo Olympics.
WNBA playoff picture
The Mercury are currently in fifth place with a 13-10 record and are only 1.5 games behind the Minnesota Lynx.
The Liberty are holding onto the seventh spot in the WNBA playoffs with a 11-14 record and are 1.5 games behind the Chicago Sky.
The best bet for tonight’s game is the Mercury (-6) against the Liberty. Phoenix has been stellar against the spread this season with a 13-9-1 record, while New York is only 11-14 ATS, which mirrors their regular season record.
The last time these two teams played each other, the Liberty defeated the Mercury 85-83 on Jun. 13. However, things should be different tonight as New York will be without guard Sami Whitcomb, who has an ankle injury. The Mercury are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games and 8-2 on the road this season. Griner is playing at a MVP level and it’s hard to see anybody stopping her right now. Back the Mercury to win their fifth-straight game and cover.