NY Liberty forward Breanna Stewart
September 26, 2023: NY Liberty forward Breanna Stewart accepts her MVP award. Photo taken by Brian Fleurantin

Liberty Find the Zone, Breanna Stewart Wins MVP and More On the ‘Gotta Get Up’ Podcast

Tuesday night was a banner evening for the New York Liberty. The team answered the call after going down 0-1 to an elite Connecticut Sun team and got the job done in front of a sold-out crowd. The game was a hit on the court, in the stands and for the viewers at home

The Liberty continue to expand their fanbase and bring more attention to the WNBA, and those fans got to witness a special moment in franchise history.

Stew York City

It was an MVP race for the ages as A’ja Wilson, Alyssa Thomas and Breanna Stewart all had great cases to bring the trophy home. Ultimately, Stewie won in an incredibly close vote. The win was a banner movement for Stewart, the Liberty and New York City basketball as a whole.

At her MVP press conference, Stewart spoke about motherhood, the support she’s received from her family and teammates, as well as the growth of the WNBA from her first MVP to now. It was a reminder of Stewart’s WNBA journey between her two MVP trophies, with more chapters left to write.

Gotta Get Up!

After the win, The Local W appeared on the latest edition of the ‘Gotta Get Up!’ podcast. On this episode, Erica Ayala and I discuss:

  • All things Breanna Stewart and this year’s MVP race
  • The work the Liberty have done to uplift their current players and the legends from previous eras
  • Erica’s history with the Liberty and how they built connections with the fans
  • The WNBA being a space for working mothers to succeed on the court and receive full support away from it

From there, we move on to Game 2. As The Local W’s Ella Morrissey observed, the Liberty played a lot of zone on Tuesday night. It worked like a charm, but the Liberty still need to get better on defense. As Sabrina Ionescu noted:

“Ultimately, we needed to be better in one-on-one defense, and I think that’s something we’re gonna [go back and improve]. We’re not gonna rely on our zone to win us a lot of these games. It did tonight and it helped us, but I think for us, we’re gonna go back and figure out what we can do in our man [to man defense] to continue and apply pressure and obviously keep that zone in our back pocket.”

Betnijah Laney added:

“It allowed us to be in positions of help more, but then also take away the three and be there for the drives.”

The Liberty’s size, length, athleticism, and synchronicity on defense made the Liberty elite and helped give Alyssa Thomas trouble so far in this series. With the Liberty knowing they have to get better if they want to make it to the Finals, look for an inspired effort in Uncasville.

Erica and I also discussed:

  • The rebounding battle
  • The Liberty targeting Rebecca Allen when she got into foul trouble
  • The impressive play of Betnijah Laney
  • Courtney Vandersloot being more aggressive in looking for her shot
  • The underappreciated strength of Sabrina Ionescu on the interior
  • Can and should Sandy Brondello use the bench more?
  • Keys to victory in Game 3 for the Sun and Liberty

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