October 13, 2023
Locked on Women’s Basketball: Aces on the verge of repeat
The Aces stormed out to a convincing 2-0 lead in the series against the New York Liberty. Do the Liberty have what it takes to recover?
It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. In this episode, host and The Next’s New York Liberty beat writer Jackie Powell is joined by The Next’s Las Vegas Aces beat writer Matthew Walter to break down where things stand as the Aces have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals.
They discuss what has gone wrong for New York so far and if the Liberty have what it takes to stave off a sweep, let alone a full series comeback. They also make their predictions for Game 3, as the Liberty hope to extend their season with some home-court advantage at the Barclays Center on Sunday.
Matthew on things the Aces have done better in this series than in the regular season against New York:
[We] talked about why, in those two games in August, the Aces looked so bad and the Liberty were able to dominate so well, I think part of that is … the Aces always seemed to come to play New York at the end of a road trip. Well, now the Aces are fresh. When the Aces are fresh and they lock in on defense, when they buy into what they have been trying to do, they’re basically unbeatable.
And we talked about how Sabrina Ionescu has been really struggling, [after she] just destroyed the Aces in the regular season. [She had] 18 made threes over the four games that they played each other. Jackie Young has basically fully committed to saying Sabrina Ionescu is not going to get any open shots [in the Finals].
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Matthew on the mental fatigue that seems to be hindering the Liberty so far:
We talked about it with the hesitancy, right. When you’re sharp, you don’t hesitate. Everything sort of flows. And it just seems like everything’s a step [late], a second [late], not getting into the flow. When we watched the Liberty in that [August] game where they crushed the Aces, they were flowing. The ball moved, it was pretty basketball. We talked about this in the [series] preview, they want to play pretty basketball. But when things don’t flow, sometimes you and I would agree that possessions have been hard to watch. They’ve had some possessions where it just is like, that’s not a good shot, they’re not really moving the ball well. They run a little action, and then they try to go one-on-one.
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