August 29, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Who’s the favorite: Breanna Stewart’s New York Liberty? A’ja Wilson’s Las Vegas Aces? 

Howard and Jackie discuss Monday night game, Las Vegas Aces vs. New York Liberty, how the Liberty won without JJ and Vegas' concerns without Candace Parker in the mix

It’s time for another Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast episode. After playing four times, the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces have established themselves as the class of the league. But what have we learned about the way these two teams compete with one another, and what will need to happen for each to prevail in the WNBA playoffs? The Next‘s New York Liberty beat reporter Jackie Powell joins host Howard Megdal to discuss what they both learned Monday night at Barclays Center and throughout the WNBA season.

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Jackie Powell talks about the Liberty winning without Jonquel Jones and how they did it:

“Well, what needed to happen is people needed to step up coming off the bench and what needed to happen is what Jonquel Jones does; folks from the bench had to provide in the portions that they could and what I mean by that is this, you had quality minutes from Marine Johannès, Kayla Thornton and Stefanie Dolson. Sure, those three all played under 20 minutes: Johannès played 14 minutes, Thornton 17 and Dolson six. The bench scoring, I believe, in total was 11. So that’s not like a giant number. It is a number it’s not zero, but it’s not 20 points.

But when it came to trying to, I guess, substitute in for what JJ brings to the Liberty, what those three players did mattered a lot. And so I guess you can start when it came to the scoring, the fact that Marine Johannès took three shots and made all of them and two of those three shots were threes that matters.”

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Howard talks about the concerns not having Candace Parker in the mix for Las Vegas:

“So I am concerned about not having Candace Parker in the mix. I also think about what does it mean without Parker there, whether you’re going to have to rely on a couple of players. You’re going to have to rely on Cayla George, you’re going to rely on Kiah Stokes, and both of those are capable players. But neither one of them can provide anything approaching the offensive upside of Candace Parker, which, putting it mildly.

And just Parker, obviously one of the great players in the history of this league, somebody who even despite a slow start from the field, was shooting 55% from two and, in fact, was even hitting her threes about a third of them, along with 90% of her free throws give or take a percentage before she went down with an injury. The defense is more to the point. I have to respect what Candace Parker can bring, and they don’t need to defend Cayla George or frankly Kiah Stokes in much the same way.”

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Written by The Next

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