New York Liberty: 3 stars from Thursday’s loss vs. Chicago

A second onslaught from the Chicago Sky doomed the New York Liberty to their fourth loss in their last six.

A garish second quarter led to the New York Liberty’s downfall on Thursday night, as a four-point deficit ballooned to 28. The Chicago Sky were paced by 18 points from Diamond DeShields and Kahleah Copper while Candace Parker earned another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in what became a 91-68 victory over New York (7-8). Chicago has now won seven in a row, the latter two coming at Barclays Center in a back-to-back, the first segment coming on Tuesday.

ESM has three silver linings from Thursday’s loss…

3rd Star: DiDi Richards

3 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal (11 minutes)

As things became ridiculously dire for the Liberty…down a whopping 28 points after a brutal second quarter…Richards played the role of beautifier, invading the interior to generate some strong opportunities. Chalk it up to the lingering hockey season, but Richards’ impact was best demonstrated in her plus/minus. New York was a jaw-dropping +12 when she was on the floor.

2nd Star: Kylee Shook 

6 points, 11 rebounds

It was easy for Shook’s interior antics to get lost in another defeat, especially with Candace Parker making yet another MVP case in relatively stifled minutes. But Shook hauled in an infantile career-best in rebounds and held Parker and Stefanie Dolson to relatively manageable numbers. The Liberty’s true sin on Thursday was letting Chicago’s deadly outside game get going, as DeShields and Allie Quigley sank three triples each.

1st Star: Michaela Onyenwere

16 points, 6 rebounds

Onyenwere made a valiant effort to penetrate the Chicago paint in the early stages of the game, but her efforts were rewarded with futility. She shot 1-of-10 in the first half, though she managed to clean things up by (along with Bec Allen) forcing Chicago into five quick fouls over the first four minutes of the second quarter, all of which produced free throws. Onyenwere found redemption in the second half, contributing to a relative surge (New York won the second half 41-36) by shooting 4-of-7 from the field.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Three stars from Tuesday’s loss vs. Chicago

The New York Liberty’s return to Brooklyn didn’t go as planned, as they ended up on the wrong end of a blowout against the Chicago Sky.

Candace Parker fell just short of Barclays Center’s second WNBA triple-double, putting up 23 points and 12 rebounds to go with six assists. She was one of four Chicago Sky representatives who reached double-figures as they rolled to an 92-72 victory over the New York Liberty. The game was the first of a two-game set between New York (7-7) and Chicago, with the latter scheduled for Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, YES/Twitter). With the win, the Sky (8-7) have now won six in a row.

ESM has game balls for the New York silver linings…

3rd Star: Sabrina Ionescu 

6 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds

Ionescu slowly started to resemble her dominant self on Tuesday night, looking as fast and athletic as she has been since missing two games with an “overuse” injury. Though New York was drastically outplayed by the resurgent Sky, they were undoubtedly a better team with her on the court. Time will tell if she’s able to resume her starting lineup duties, though Bec Allen has filled in quite efficiently in her place, so there’s no need to rush.

2nd Star: Jazmine Jones

11 points (5-8 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 blocks

Jones did what she did best in an effort to stem the bleeding: providing energy, even if it came in the form of expressing PG-13-displeasure at the officials (who awarded the Liberty only 11 free throws on Tuesday night). The All-Rookie nominee has reached double-figures in three of her last five games after doing so only once in the first nine contests. She also did a solid job of crashing the boards, hauling in five on the defensive end.

1st Star: Betnijah Laney

18 points (7-12 FG), 5 rebounds, 5 assists

Laney fell short of her traditional 20 but rediscovered her shooting touch after the recent four-game road trip brought her back down to earth a little bit. With the WNBA having announced a unique All-Star Game format in Las Vegas (pitting the United States’ womens’ Olympic basketball against a dozen WNBA All-Stars), Laney continues to make her case for a nomination, having missed on last year’s edition with the season confined to the Bradenton bubble.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags