clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: Sun host Liberty, Aces host Mercury to open August

The Sun aim to stay hot as the playoff race tightens, while the Aces try to bolster their case to make the elusive top 8 in their first season.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Connecticut Sun v Phoenix Mercury
DeWanna Bonner leads the Phoenix Mercury in minutes per game and steals per game. The Mercury will try to break out of a four-game losing streak Wednesday night.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There are two games on the WNBA schedule tonight, both of which are on NBA TV. Here’s what to look for and how to watch.

Connecticut Sun (14-12) vs. New York Liberty (7-18)

When: Wednesday, August 1 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena | TICKETS

How to watch: NBA TV (national TV), NBC Sports Boston (local market), MSG+ (local market)

Injuries: For the Liberty, Shavonte Zellous (ankle) is out.

Storylines to follow

Last meeting: Liberty 79, Sun 76 (July 11)

In a game where only one team has a realistic chance of making the playoffs, this could be the most exciting rubber match all season.

Just before the All-Star break, the Sun were beginning to show a bit of their former selves, the team that began the season undefeated and seemingly untouchable. They come into this game in seventh place, just a game and a half away from falling out of playoff contention. But perhaps luckily for them, they’re facing a Liberty team that had a rough go of it going into the break, losing four straight.

That doesn’t mean this game won’t be close. The difference between seventh and eleventh place has never been so tight, if these teams’ previous matchups have been any indication. In the first, the Sun edged out the Liberty by two. In the most recent, the Liberty ended up with the three-point advantage.

Tina Charles led all scorers in both games and is a key reason why the seven-win Liberty can still pick up big victories. If she can step up once more — and New York’s defense can reprise their efforts that held the Sun to 40.2 and 42.6 shooting in their first two matchups — there could be an season series upset in the making.

Las Vegas Aces (12-13) vs. Phoenix Mercury (15-12)

When: Wednesday, August 1 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center | TICKETS

How to watch: NBA TV (national TV), AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (local market)

Injuries: For the Mercury, Leilani Mitchell (personal) is out, while Brittney Griner (back) is probable.

Storylines to follow

Last meeting: Aces 85, Mercury 82 (July 19)

After a loss in Seattle on Tuesday night to kick-start their second-half campaign, the sixth-place Mercury head to Las Vegas to take on the ninth-place Aces, who will try to reach .500 for the first time this season.

The Mercury come into the game on a four-game losing streak, having struggled mightily since losing Sancho Lyttle to injury at the end of June. While regular mainstays Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner have kept up their consistently high level of play in Lyttle’s absence, they have yet to truly step up and fill the gaping hole she left.

Meanwhile, the Aces took full advantage of Lyttle’s absence in these teams’ previous meeting, as Kayla McBride put up 27 points to help Las Vegas beat Phoenix for the first time this season. After that performance, winning this game would do three things for the Aces: it would get them to .500 for the first time, bolster their playoff prospects and lift them to an improbable 2-2 tie to wrap up the season series.

After solid All-Star outings for McBride and A’ja Wilson, further proving that they can hang with the best that the league has to offer, winning this game wouldn’t be so much an upset as a display of strength that should become the norm sooner rather than later.