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WNBA previews: Laney, New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks face each other

The New York Liberty (11-13), playing their third game of a five-game home game, tackles the Los Angeles Sparks (9-13), who have won their last three games, Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The Seattle Storm (17-7) is 1-2 so far during their five games and will tackle the Washington Mystics (8-13) at 15:00 ET on ESPN.

The New York Liberty were plagued by the Storm in their last game, 99-83. The Liberty sits seventh on the standings, just one game ahead of the Dallas Wings and the Sparks. One important thing to note is that the Liberty and the Sparks are going to play without fans due to Hurricane Henri.

Betnijah Laney will get back on track after scoring just nine points against the Storm. It was only the third game this year in which Laney fail to achieve double digits. In all the matches, the Liberty could not win. Sami Whitcomb had her third game of 25 points or more in the loss; it was the Liberty’s first loss in such matches. Whitcomb was 5-of-9 from far into the game and her long-range shooting would be critical against the Sparks.

Natasha Howard only played in her fifth game for the Liberty after missing most of the season due to an MCL injury. His recorded her first double as a team member (11 points, 13 rebounds) but was 4-of-19 from the field. If Howard can be more efficient in the basket, she and Laney could pose a major threat to the paint.

The Sparks won their last game 66-64 over the Atlanta Dream after Nneka Ogwumike won a match up close. Ogwumike leads the Sparks with the score this season with 15.5 points per game and is followed by Erica Wheeler and Amanda Zahui B. who averaged 13.7 and 11.5 points.

The Sparks rely on their defense to stop if their offense last with only 73.5 points per game. The Liberty has the last meeting between the teams on the strength of 10-of-31 shooting from 3-point land. New York will try to use its long-range shooting to win it back.

Mystics want to turn it around

The Mystics return home with a losing streak of three games and will welcome the Storm. They were without Elena Delle Donne due to a back operation. Delle Donne is listed as likely. How effective she is going to be this season remains to be seen.

The Storm is trying to stay in the race for the top-seeded after starting slowly after the Olympic break. Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird missed the first two games so they could rest after their gold medal. Their return coincides with the Storm’s win over Liberty in the team’s final game.

Washington’s Tina Charles is in the league leading scorer with 25.7 points per game. Her 34-point performance in the Mystics’ final game against the Storm was instrumental 87-83 victory.

The Mystics have one of the worst defenses in the league, but retained the playoffs due to their nine tries per game. They rely on mere volume while shooting just 32.5 percent from outside the arc.

The Storm is a bona fide title contender as it appears in the top half offensive and defensive. Jewell Loyd has averaged 30 points since the Olympics restart, while Breanna Stewart is third in the league with 20.5 points.

Game Info

New York Liberty (11-13) vs Los Angeles Sparks (9-13)

When: Sunday 21 August at 14:00 ET

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

How to watch: ESPN3, YES App, Spectrum Sportsnet, SN1

Key to matching: The Liberty are a 3-point shooting team and shoot more than 40 percent in their wins. The Sparks are one of the worst rebound teams in the league, allowing Liberty to create extra points.

Liberty Injury Report: Jazmine Jones (out; foot), Jocelyn Willoughby (out for season; Achilles)

Sparks Injury Report: Chiney Ogumike (probably; knee), Jasmine Walker (out of season; knee), Maria Vadeeva (out of season; personal)

Seattle Storm (16-7) vs. Washington Mystics (8-13)

When: Friday, 21 August at 15:00 ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, DC

How to watch: ESPN, NBA TV Canada

Key to matching: Jewell Loyd makes big numbers and Breanna Stewart is as good as ever, making the Storm a tough team to beat. The return of Delle Donne may not have an immediate impact, but could help the Mystics make a playoff game.

Storm Injury Report: Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (out of season; personal)

Mystics Injury Report: Elena Delle Donne (probably; back), Shavonte Zellous (probably; single)

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