Liberty vs. Storm Preview: How, Who to Watch

The New York Liberty will continue an early homestand against the Seattle Storm.
Brandon Todd, NY Liberty
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One could say that the New York Liberty are taking the WNBA by storm ... but that wouldn't be quite fair to their next opponent.

The Liberty engage in the middle portion of an early three-game homestand on Monday night when Barclays Center hosts the Seattle Storm for an interconference showdown. New York is one of four undefeated teams left in the WNBA entering the week following consecutive victories over the Indiana Fever, including a 91-80 triumph on Saturday afternoon in the 2024 home opener in Brooklyn.

Seattle got on the board on Sunday afternoon, as they took down the Washington Mystics in an 84-75 final despite despite missing touted newcomer Nneka Ogwumike, who is expected to be a game-time decision for Monday will wrap up an early three-game road for the Storm, one that began with a double overtime loss in Minnesota last Friday night.

This will be the first of three meetings between the Liberty and Storm this season, two of which will be in Brooklyn. The Liberty won all four get-togethers last season, though the latter pair in the Pacific Northwest was decided by a combined eight points.

What: Seattle Storm (1-2) @ New York Liberty (3-0)

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

When/Watch: Monday, 7 p.m. ET, WWOR/ESPN3

Who's Favored: NYL -10.5

Brandon Todd, NY Liberty

Keep An Eye On: Jonquel Jones

In a minuscule sample size, the biggest difference in this Liberty season compared to the last has been the work of Jones, who was dealing with lingering injuries from her overseas work at the start of the year. Perhaps eager to shed its tendency to rely on outside gains, the Liberty has improved on is outside game to the benefit of Jones and here double-double average over the opening trio (17 points, 10 rebounds). New York has not made a priority to swipe the top seed that eluded it last season but if Jones keeps up her torrid pace, the Liberty can remain in the driver's seat for any advantage it can over the pesky Las Vegas Aces.

Storm to Watch: Ezi Magbegor

Magbegor is expected to be a part of Australia's upcoming effort at the Summer Olympics, one spearheaded by Sandy Brondello. While some of the Storm's backcourt contributors work out some early issues (Jewell Loyd and Skylar Diggins-Smith shooting under 40 percent in the early going), Magbegor has continued her current pace and has helped Seattle form one of the top rebounding groups in the league thus far. She, Ogwumike, and Jordan Horston are all averaging over eight rebounds a game so far while Loyd is right behind them at 6.7.

They Said It

"It means a lot that I'm able to contribute to the success that we have, but it is a team effort. It's all of us coming in and doing our part from the starters to the bench. I'm just happy with the way we've come out in these first three games and I'm just looking to forward to seeing the progress that we'll be able to make."-Betnijah Laney-Hamilton on her plus/minus of plus-64 over the last two games

Prediction

Things start to heat up for the Liberty after they handled business against groups from Washington and Indiana that were trying to find themselves at the start of the year. Seattle could also linger in that category but the Storm will no doubt be looking to make a statement before they head back west. The past couple against the Fever showed who the Liberty can truly be and it just feels like a little much for a Seattle team, already worried about its new headliners, to truly compete with that in its first go-around.

Liberty 94, Storm 82

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Geoff Magliocchetti

GEOFF MAGLIOCCHETTI

Editor-In-Chief at All Knicks