The Atlanta Dream (3-2) take on the New York Liberty (5-1) in Brooklyn at 2 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon in the first contest of a two-game slate for the WNBA.
The Dream have won three games in the row, all by close margins, and are a Top 5 team in the league, meaning they’ve leaned toward their upside so far. The Liberty haven’t played in a while, but also have some momentum from a two-game winning streak. However, New York’s strength of schedule isn’t looking too good. All the teams it has faced currently have losing records.
Can the Liberty beat a team with a winning record on Saturday and prepare itself for the powerhouses to come, including the Las Vegas Aces on Thursday?
The second game of the day will be at 8 ET tonight and will be a clash between the Phoenix Mercury and Dallas Wings.
Phoenix (2-3) started the season off strong with a nail-biter win over the Minnesota Lynx, a hard-fought game against the now first-place Connecticut Sun and a blowout of the Washington Mystics. However, they have now lost two in a row and are without their GOAT, Diana Taurasi.
Dallas (1-3) already has the looks of a scrappy team but has lost three close ones in a row, leaving it with just one win, which came in its season opener. All three losses were to teams with winning records. Can the Wings keep up their high level of play and be rewarded this time?
Atlanta Dream (3-2) vs. New York Liberty (5-1)
When: Saturday, May 29 at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
How to watch: Amazon Prime or YES app or WNBA League Pass
Dream injury report: Cheyenne Parker (out; health and safety protocol)
Liberty injury report: Leaonna Odom (probable; Achilles), Natasha Howard (out; knee), Jocelyn Willoughby (out; Achilles)
Keys to the matchup: The Dream need to slow down the 3-point shooting of the Liberty. That’s a difficult task against a team that already liked shooting threes and added a 3-point specialist in Sami Whitcomb. New York has improved drastically on it’s 3-point shooting numbers from a year ago. It has four players (Sabrina Ionescu, Whitcomb, Betnijah Laney and Michaela Onyenwere) making 1.5 or more threes per game and they’re all shooting 41.7 percent or better. The quartet is making a combined nine triples per contest at a 46.6 percent clip. On the other side, the Liberty need to limit Tiffany Hayes, who has been hot lately, and Courtney Williams and Chennedy Carter. C. Williams is making the most of her prime and becoming a true star in the league as she is 13th in scoring. Carter is playing well too and that trio has lived up to expectations.
Phoenix Mercury (2-3) vs. Dallas Wings (1-3)
When: Saturday, May 29 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: College Park Center in Arlington, TX
How to watch: BSSW+ or TSN5 or WNBA League Pass
Mercury injury report: Bria Hartley (out; knee), Diana Taurasi (NWT; sternum)
Wings injury report: Satou Sabally (out; temporary suspension), Allisha Gray (out; temporary suspension)
Keys to the matchup: The Wings are leading the league in scoring, while the Mercury are seventh and score 13.4 less points per game. However, Phoenix does have the fifth-best defense and Dallas is dead last, allowing 10 more points per game. The Wings have given up 100 in two of their last three games so they’ll need to clean some things up if they want Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey’s scoring efforts to yield a victory. Phoenix may be vulnerable without Diana Taurasi, but they still have Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Dallas can probably hang with any team in the league but a win in this one won’t come easy against those two stars.