Playoff hopes at stake as Liberty visit Wings

National Sports

Despite being mired in a six-game losing streak featuring various degrees of frustration, the New York Liberty remain in the mix for a postseason berth.

New York hopes to help its quest for the postseason by halting the skid Saturday night when it visits the Dallas Wings in Arlington, Texas.

The Liberty (11-18) and the Washington Mystics (11-18) are tied for the eighth and final WNBA playoff position, one game behind Dallas (12-17). The Los Angeles Sparks (10-19) are just a game behind Washington, which beat the Atlanta Dream 82-74 on Friday, and New York.

New York is winless since an 83-79 home win over the Seattle Storm on Aug. 18. Since then, the Liberty own four double-digit losses, including an 85-75 setback at Seattle on Sept. 2.

Unlike some of their previous double-digit losses, the Liberty had a chance to win. They held a three-point lead with about nine minutes left before getting outscored 22-9 the rest of the way.

“They’ve been much more connected,” New York coach Walt Hopkins said. “I think that respect for one another, listening to one another, taking constructive criticism from your teammates, the team holding each other accountable in addition to the coaching staff, I really think they’re taking it to heart.”

Sabrina Ionescu scored 20 points, Rebecca Allen added 17 and Natasha Howard finished with 15 in one of New York’s best showings of the skid. The Liberty shot 47.4 percent and hit 11 3s after shooting 32.4 percent and misfiring on 19 of 24 3-point tries Aug. 31 in Minnesota.

Dallas is looking to break a two-game losing streak and is 3-8 in its past 11 games. The Wings absorbed their most lopsided setback of the season with an 83-56 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.

Dallas trailed by 17 after the first quarter, shot 26.6 percent and missed 25 of 32 3-point tries.

Arike Ogunbowale endured a performance that typified Dallas’ struggles. She was held to eight points on 2-of-17 shooting, snapping her streak of 65 straight games with at least 10 points.

“This wasn’t the kind of game I wanted, the kind of game the team wanted,” Ogunbowale said. “But I’m locked in and ready for Saturday. That’s all I’m focused on.”

Dallas took the loss while playing short-handed as Satou Sabally missed an eighth straight game with an Achilles injury, Isabelle Harrison missed a second straight game due to COVID-19 and Moriah Jefferson sat with a hamstring injury. Jefferson is expected to return Saturday and Dallas is optimistic Sabally can return for the first time since before the Olympic break.

–Field Level Media

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