Play of the backcourts could be deciding factor
With the New York Liberty sitting only a couple games behind the Chicago Sky for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and the season series tied one to one, Tuesday night’s showdown has all the makings of an epic battle.
In the first half of the season, both teams were plagued by injuries to key players and found themselves scrambling for production. The Sky lost Epiphanny Prince, who was leading the league in scoring at the time of her injury, for nearly two months, while Plenette Pierson’s low-post presence and veteran leadership was sorely missed by the Liberty as she missed eight games.
But now they are both back and providing immediate dividends for their clubs.
Pierson’s presence was a major factor in the Liberty’s victory in her return on Thursday as her 16 points and four rebounds helped the Liberty defeat the conference leading Sun, 79-66. Likewise, Prince was key for Chicago as she led the Sky in scoring in her return against Atlanta on Friday with 16 points. With both teams back to full strength, the play of the backcourt will still likely be the key to victory as history has shown.
In Chicago’s 73-64 win on June 10, Prince, who scored 26 points, outscored the Liberty’s starting backcourt by herself. Less than a month later, on July 6, Liberty guards Cappie Pondexter and Leilani Mitchell outscored the backcourt of Tamera Young and Courtney Vandersloot, 31-22, as the Liberty held on for a 64-59 victory.
This will be the third of four meetings between these Eastern Conference rivals and each team hopes to claim the tiebreaker advantage for playoff consideration. The Liberty have won four of the last seven over the Sky, but the Sky have won two of the last three at Allstate. The two teams will match up once last time in New Jersey on September 7.
Tuesday’s game is also Dribble to Stop Diabetes Night at Allstate Arena. For each ticket purchased, a portion of the sales will go to the American Diabetes Association and with the purchase of a ticket, each individual is automatically entered in a drawing where the winner will receive the unique opportunity to have lunch with Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman.
To purchase tickets, please click here and enter the promo code: ADA.