What Will Stewart Do for an Encore?
The Connecticut Sun will put its undefeated mark on the line with a short road trip to face a New York Liberty team that was listed by the WNBA predictions as the favorite in the Eastern Conference.
This will be the first regular-season meeting since the trade that sent former WNBA Most Valuable Player Jonquel Jones to New York. Jones did not play in the preseason meeting. When the wheeling and dealing was done, Connecticut landed Tiffany Hayes, Rebecca Allen and Tyasha Harris. They are combining for 15.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Jones and Kayla Thornton, who was acquired from Dallas as part of the three-team trade, are combining for 14 points, nine rebounds and two assists per game.
New York is shooting 30% and Connecticut is at 29.8% from 3-point range so far this season. Keep that in mind when making WNBA picks.
Connecticut had won nine straight regular-season games against New York. However, the teams have split the last four meetings. Connecticut is 6-1 in the last seven trips to New York. Seven of the last nine games between the Sun and Liberty finished under the total.
When looking at the WNBA news, Connecticut has all 11 players on the roster available to play. Marine Johannes has yet to play for the Liberty this season. The team she plays on in France just wrapped up a championship run so she could be joining the Liberty soon.
New York’s Breanna Stewart (+250) is tied with A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces for the best odds to win the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award. Teammate Sabrina Ionescu (+700) is tied for fourth while Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas (+2200) comes in eighth.
According to the WNBA playoff odds, New York (+140) is second and Connecticut (+2600) fifth in the odds to win the WNBA title.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa began to show what she could do late in her rookie season when she averaged 7.4 points. 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots.
The former UConn post player was traded from Los Angeles to Connecticut in a deal for veteran point guard Jasmine Thomas.
Playing behind one of the top frontcourts in the league, Nelson-Ododa is unlikely to have a run like she did in August when she topped the 20-minute mark in six of the seven games.
She is in the 14-15 minute range for the Sun and is quietly putting up 5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game. She is tied for third in the WNBA in blocked shots per game.
Nelson-Ododa had 20 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots in back-to-back games against New York in August.
The WNBA betting lines total has gone under in 10 of Connecticut’s last 13 games.
Ready for an Encore
The last time Breanna Stewart stepped onto the court, she went off for 45 points on 15-of-21 shooting as the Liberty rebounded from a season-opening loss to Washington by rolling past Indiana.
Stewie joined Maya Moore as the only player in W History to record 45+ PTS, 10+ REB, & 6+ 3PM in a game. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/uHgYBgwMyq
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) May 21, 2023
Stewart, one of the best players in UConn women’s basketball history. has scored in double figures in all 16 regular-season meetings with the Sun and looks for that trend to continue.
Stewart went 6 of 9 from 3-point range the last time out after missing all five of her shots from distance in the season opener. The 6-foot-4 Stewart is pretty much unguardable when she is connecting from the perimeter.
Stewart was 5 of 14 from 3-point range in the three games she played against Connecticut. The Sun return the team’s starting frontcourt so there is a familiarity with guarding one of the top players in the league.
Something to consider for those who bet online: New York has covered in just two of its last six games and is 3-7-1 against the spread in the last 11 games versus the Sun.
Sun vs Liberty Game Information
- Game: Sun 3-0; Liberty 1-1
- Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
- Day/Time: Saturday, May 27, 1:00 p.m. ET
- Sun vs Liberty Live Stream: WNBA.com
Sun vs Liberty Betting Lines
Sun vs Liberty Picks and Prediction
A national-television audience will be able to check out a 3-0 Connecticut team playing against the star-studded Liberty in a Saturday matinee.
Connecticut was outrebounded but outscored Washington 40-26 in the paint the last time out. The Liberty had 34 points in the paint in its first win of the season so the battle inside should be worth the price of admission.
The road team has won four of the last eight meetings between the Sun and the Liberty.
The winning team also covered against the WNBA spreads in each of the last seven meetings.