Your Day in Women’s Basketball, August 4: Wubble Trouble for the Liberty

How the Liberty and others have adapted to a week of basketball in the Wubble

The Next’s Jackie Powell always knows what questions to ask about the New York Liberty. So after the Liberty lost its fourth straight game, as well as its No. 1 overall pick in Sabrina Ionescu last week, there was only one real question to ask: Where do the New York Liberty go from here?

Well for starters, New York can rest a bit easier now that it has Kia Nurse back. The team needs experience and any support it can get. It’s unrealistic to expect Nurse to bring the Liberty back to competitive basketball, but at the least, her veteran presence and solid jump shot could jumpstart a broken offense.

For those who don’t know, the Liberty planned to run their “New Era” system that emphasizes an efficient, space-and-pace, threes-and-layups offense. Unfortunately, as its roster is currently composed, the Liberty just can’t execute this type of gameplan. Especially not against top bigs like Brittney Griner, who New York saw this weekend.

An identity crisis may be facing the Liberty. Beyond Sabrina’s two-way talents, the team needs her steely demeanor on the court.

“Sabrina just brings a tenacity to her and a fire and a competitiveness that you could really tell we were missing especially towards the end of that [Mercury] game,” Layshia Clarendon said.

Just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t mean WNBA players can’t make the most of their wubble. On the Mystics’ and Sun’s end, both teams celebrated several birthdays in their free time. The Mystics, for one, wanted to go beyond getting their success on the court after sealing wins on the 28th (Essence Carson’s birthday) and the 30th (Ariel Atkins birthday).

We learned a few things from the joint party: Emma Messemen is indeed human (at Jenga, anyway), and head coach Mike Thibault is terrible at anything that involves moving down, whether it’s his team in the standings or an Oreo down his face.

This is the kind of hard-hitting news you get when the WNBA’s one day off. #ThisLeague.

The Connecticut Sun celebrated one of its younger members, with a Minnie Mouse themed party for Bria Holmes daughter… aka Diona Holmes… aka “Baby D.” Theresa Plaisance far-and-away won the best gift award, securing Baby D a gift that can only really be described as a hamster wheel for a baby.

The Sun may have gotten off to a slow start in the wubble, but if they can keep their spirits high (looking at you, Coach Miller) and find a way to score beyond DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas, this team has a shot to sneak into the playoffs.

Speaking of DeWanna Bonner, she and Candice Dupree are co-parenting their twins who are outside the bubble. Those twins too had a birthday party, celebrating joyfully from a virtual call.

 

Down in the world of college hoops, Tennesse Lady Vols head coach Kelli Harper is putting together a scary roster. Her most recent addition? Graduate transfer guard Jordan Walker, who will bring multi-level scoring to the Vols and experience at the guard spot.

Players are arriving in Knoxville en masse, and the Vols hope this makes a difference. Tennesse has assembled its largest roster in a decade, and that depth should lead to improvements from last year’s 21-10 record that included a pitiful 1-8 record against Top 25 teams.

The SEC wasn’t the only conference with a plethora of changes. Out in the Big 12, Baylor gained one of the top graduate transfers in Kamaria McDaniel. The former Penn State guard brings her 19.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game to an already-stacked Lady Bears squad. Kansas, TCU, and Texas Tech also snagged recent transfers to bolster their rosters.

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