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Previews: Liberty face even tougher challenge in Aces

The winning vibes are back for the New York Liberty, but can they win a second game without Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard if the contest is against the Las Vegas Aces? Plus, the Indiana Fever host the Seattle Storm and the Chicago Sky travel to face the Minnesota Lynx.

New York Liberty v Phoenix Mercury
Betnijah Laney (jersey #44)
Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Liberty vs. the Las Vegas Aces at 10 p.m. ET is the must-watch WNBA game tonight, even though it will be played without Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard. The Liberty have proven to be entertaining even when some of their stars are out and a win against Vegas would put them at 7-4 and get them back in contender talks.

New York lost three in a row after starting 5-1, but bounced back with a two-point win over Phoenix on Sunday. Betnijah Laney had 23 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and just one turnover as the Liberty found a way to best a Mercury team that received signature performances from its two superstars, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith.

There is so much excitement surrounding New York after that win as there was to begin the season. The Liberty know it was a big win because it came without Ionescu and Howard. When they get those two back, they will really be dangerous.

Of course, the Aces were the preseason favorites and stand at 8-3 for a reason. They have even more talent than the Mercury with their ability to throw A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage, Chelsea Gray, Dearica Hamby, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum at you. Ramifications aside (these are the third- and fourth-place teams in the league), the Aces are always worth the price of admission and may be the best show in the WNBA right now aside from maybe the Seattle Storm. A’ja Wilson earned her team a vote in that race with 28 points and 14 rebounds in Vegas’ Sunday win over Dallas.

Before the Liberty and Aces square off, the first-place Storm take on the last-place Fever at 7 p.m. ET and the Sky face the Lynx at 9 p.m. ET.

Seattle will be looking for its fourth win in a row, while Indiana will be looking to break a seven-game skid. The Sky are looking to get rolling now that Candace Parker has put up her first quality stat line since returning from an ankle injury, while the Lynx will look to win their second in a row and improve to .500.


Game Information

Seattle Storm (10-2) vs. Indiana Fever (1-11)

When: Tuesday, June 15 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, IN

How to watch: fever.wnba.com or JoeTV

Key to the matchup: Teaira McCowan. The Fever have only played in one close game during their current seven-game losing streak and it was their most recent contest, an 83-79 loss to the Chicago Sky. McCowan had 20 points and 13 rebounds in that game. It was her highest scoring total since the season opener when she had 22. In the previous two games she had 15 points and 12 rebounds combined and Indiana got blown out both times. McCowan showed in the season opener that she can be dominant and hopefully for the Fever that dominance can impact the outcome of games. In a game where they are big underdogs, the Fever need to try and take advantage of McCowan’s size in the post and hope to gain a considerable amount of ground in that area. Trying to simply match Seattle across the board might not work.

Storm injury report: none

Fever injury report: Bernadett Határ (out; ankle), Aaliyah Wilson (out; foot)

Chicago Sky (4-7) vs. Minnesota Lynx (4-5)

When: Tuesday, June 15 at 9 p.m. ET

Where: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN

How to watch: ESPN2 or TSN5

Key to the matchup: Minnesota’s defense. The Sky have the 10th-best scoring offense in the league, but with Courtney Vandersloot on their side, they always have the potential to turn that around. The Lynx need to make sure this is another bad offensive night for Chicago and not a bounce back. Sylvia Fowles’ presence on the interior will be key to Minnesota’s defensive success against Candace Parker, who played extremely well in the Sky’s last game. The Lynx have the fifth-best scoring defense in the league.

Sky injury report: none

Lynx injury report: Natalie Achonwa (out; knee), Aerial Powers (out; thumb), Jessica Shepard (out; groin), Rennia Davis (out; foot)

New York Liberty (6-4) vs. Las Vegas Aces (8-3)

When: Tuesday, June 15 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, NV

How to watch: ESPN3 or MYLVTV

Key to the matchup: New York’s supporting cast behind Betnijah Laney. The Liberty were able to defeat the Mercury without Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard, but beating the Aces without that duo will be even harder. Betnijah Laney has been so solid for New York — you know she’s going to bring it yet again. But it took Jazmine Jones scoring 14 points in the fourth to ensure that Laney’s incredible efforts against Phoenix didn’t go to waste. Who will step up this time for the Liberty? Michaela Onyenwere, Sami Whitcomb and Rebecca Allen are all capable.

Liberty injury report: Sabrina Ionescu (out; ankle), Natasha Howard (out; knee), Jocelyn Willoughby (out; Achilles), Kiah Stokes (out; EuroBasket)

Aces injury report: Angel McCoughtry (out for season; knee)