A one-sided third quarter doomed the New York Liberty in their last showing before the WNBA’s month-long All-Star/Olympic break.
The Connecticut Sun shined a little too bright for the New York Liberty on Sunday afternoon, particularly in the third quarter.
Paced by 17 points and 17 rebounds from Jonquel Jones, the Sun held off the pesky Liberty to the tune of an 18-9 advantage in the third quarter, allowing them to roll to a 71-54 victory at Barclays Center. Despite the loss, the Liberty (10-11) are among the league’s eight playoff teams as the WNBA embarks on a month-long hiatus to allow its players to partake in both the WNBA All-Star Game and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Thus ends a New York odyssey that featured several changed commercials flights and hours of delays due to heavy rains brought about by Tropical Storm Elsa. Liberty owner Joe Tsai has vowed to fight the travel problems.
New York’s Betnijah Laney will appear alongside the rest of the Association’s All-Stars as they battle the United States Olympic unit on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) while Sami Whitcomb will partake in the three-point contest on that same night. In Tokyo, Rebecca Alen will represent Australia while overseas holdover Han Xu is set to appear on China’s squad. The Liberty return to action on August 15 at Minnesota (7 p.m. ET, YES/Facebook).
ESM has three game balls to send the Liberty into the break…
3rd Star: Reshanda Gray
8 points, 5 rebounds
Adding Gray for the remainder of the season could be huge for the Liberty, who have come to adore her physicality in the paint. Though Gray posted relatively pedestrian numbers in her final pre-break showing, she set some personal history by sinking each of her two attempts from three-point range after sinking only 1-of-8 over her first four WNBA seasons.
2nd Star: Michaela Onyenwere
12 points, 4 rebounds
As one of only two New Yorkers in double figures, Onyenwere did her best to keep the Liberty in the game by getting to the foul line, hitting five of her six visits. At the break, Onyenwere is the runaway favroite for the league’s Rookie of the Year, leading all first-years in scoring (9.8 per game entering Sunday) and posting a runner-up finish in rebounding (2.9).
1st Star: Kylee Shook
16 points, 2 assists, 1 block
Shook set a new career-best in scoring for the second straight game. Thrust into the starting lineup for all but one game this season thanks to Natasha Howard’s injury, Shook’s development has been one of the most promising storylines of the first half. Alas, her development was the brightest…and perhaps only…the Liberty could’ve taken from Sunday. Taking away Shook’s 6-of-8 showing, the Liberty shot 11-of-48 (23 percent) from the field.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags