Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Breanna Stewart, and Nyara Sabally at Liberty practice
Jonquel Jones, Betnijah Laney, Sabrina Ionescu, Breanna Stewart, and Nyara Sabally during at break at NY Liberty practice.

Inside the NY Liberty’s Preparation For the WNBA Finals

Throughout this season, the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces have been neck and neck atop the standings. The two “superteams“ have dealt with various obstacles and challenges to make it to this point. The Liberty survived an intense battle with the Connecticut Sun in the last round, and the Aces survived their own battle against the Dallas Wings that ended up in a sweep. Both teams were atop the standings and in various statistical categories throughout the year. It is a truly even matchup and one that has a chance to be one of the best series in league history.

The Liberty held practice on Oct. 4 in Brooklyn ahead of the Finals opener on Sunday. With a team as talented as Las Vegas on the other side, it will take a complete, 40-minute effort to dethrone the champions. The teams have seen each other a lot this year, so they are familiar with what it will take to win. Strong starts will be essential, and the Liberty cannot sleepwalk through a game like they did in Game 1 against the Sun.

“I think, just not being complacent, you know?” Betnijah Laney said after practice on Oct. 4. “Knowing that yeah, it’s great that we’re here, and we’re in this moment, but it’s not over. So we know that they’re a great team. You know, that they’re gonna throw everything they have at us. And so we have to just be able to withstand that.”

Breanna Stewart echoed that sentiment and acknowledged that both teams are going to throw everything they have at the opponent. At practice, the Liberty spent much time working on their pick-and-roll defense and navigating the ball screens the Aces will set. Stewie and Jonquel Jones’s presence on the interior allows their teammates to play more aggressively on the perimeter knowing that they have elite rim protectors backing them up.

Stewart also praised the team’s physicality on defense and their ability to adjust and adapt. In the postseason, the games get tighter and the difficulty rises. Winning an intense thriller in Uncasville tested the team’s resolve and proved that it can come together and succeed under difficult circumstances.

With one of the most anticipated series in league history starting on Sunday, the Liberty hope that all of their hard work will pay off.

Gotta Get Up!

The band’s all here to break down the Finals! On the latest episode of Gotta Get Up, Erica Ayala, Misha Jones and I talk all things WNBA Finals.

We discuss:

  • A final look back at the Liberty vs. Sun and Aces vs. Wings series
  • X-factors for both teams
  • How the league has promoted the stars of each team
  • Betnijah Laney’s steady greatness
  • Chelsea Gray’s dominance in the clutch
  • If we see the Liberty bench making an impact in this series

And in part two, Erica, Misha, and I talk about:

  • The continued excellence of Jonquel Jones
  • Generational talents and how the WNBA markets the game
  • If we think Candace Parker will return in this series
  • Keys to victory in Game 1 for each team
  • And plenty more!

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