New York Liberty vs. Connecticut Sun Preview, Prediction and Odds - 9/15/21

A battle of Eastern Conference teams at opposite ends of the playoff picture as the regular season winds down take the floor in WNBA action from the Nutmeg State. The New York Liberty are on the road as they travel to face the Connecticut Sun Wednesday night. New York was edged 77-76 on the road by Dallas in their previous contest Saturday night. Connecticut earned a 76-67 road win over Phoenix in their most recent game Saturday night. The Sun have won eight straight meetings between the teams. That includes an 85-64 home win on June 5 and a 71-54 road win in the most recent meeting on July 11.

New York Liberty Fighting for Playoff Berth

New York lost for the seventh straight game and their 10th in the last 11 games as they let one slip away against Dallas on the road Saturday. The Liberty entered Tuesday 11-19 on the season and stood tied for ninth in the WNBA playoff picture, one game behind the Mystics for the final playoff spot. Against Dallas, New York trailed by five after the opening quarter before rallying to lead by one at halftime. The Liberty closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run to lead by 10 after three quarters and extended to a 13-point edge with 9:19 to play. New York went cold after that as they were outscored 20-6 the rest of the way to wind up with the loss. Sabrina Ionescu had a shot to win the game in the closing seconds but was blocked at the buzzer. New York shot 44.8% from the field, including seven of 24 from three-point range, while limiting Dallas to 36.1% shooting and still lost. Betnijah Laney led the Liberty with 19 points and six assists in the loss.

The Liberty comes into this contest 10th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 78.4 points per game. New York is 10th in rebounding (33.7 boards a night) and sixth with 19.1 assists per contest. The Liberty ranks 12th in the league in scoring defense by allowing 85.3 points per game. Betnijah Laney leads the Liberty with 17.3 points plus 5.1 assists a night this season. Sabrina Ionescu (11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, six assists) and Michaela Onyenwere (8.6 points) are also capable scoring options. Sami Whitcomb (11.9 points, 5.1 boards), Natasha Howard (14.6 points, 6.9 boards), Kylee Shook, Rebecca Allen, Jazmine Jones, Reshanda Gray and DiDi Richards are key contributors for coach Walt Hopkins. New York is 7th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 42.5% from the floor as a team. The Liberty is first in the league in made threes per game (10.1) while ranking third in three-point shooting at 36.2%. New York is 7th in free throw percentage as they cash in 81% of their chances at the stripe.

Connecticut Sun Ready for Postseason Run

Connecticut rang up their 12th straight regular season win as they stopped Phoenix’s nine-game win streak by prevailing on the road Saturday. The Sun ran their record to 24-6 on the year and have clinched the top seed in the WNBA playoff picture, not to mention a double bye to the semifinals. Against Phoenix, Connecticut closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run to lead by five and led by as many as 11 in the second quarter before seeing their lead trimmed to six at the half. After seeing Phoenix tie the game with 2:19 to play in the third quarter, the Sun used a 9-2 run to take a 64-57 lead with 6:32 to play and didn’t let the Mercury closer than five the rest of the way. Connecticut shot 37.5% from the field, including 10 of 23 from three-point range, and forced 15 Phoenix turnovers in the game. Jasmine Thomas led the Sun with 17 points in the win.

The Sun are 9th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 79 points per game so far this season. Connecticut is fourth in the league in rebounding (36.1 boards a night) while they stand 8th by dishing out 17.9 assists a game on the year. The Sun have been good defensively as they are first in scoring defense by allowing an average of 70.2 points per game. DeWanna Bonner is second on the Sun with 15.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. Jonquel Jones (team-high 19.6 points, 11.2 rebounds), Natisha Hiedeman and Brionna Jones (14.8 points, 7.2 rebounds) each are valuable contributors. Jasmine Thomas (10.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists), Briann January, Beatrice Mompreier, Stephanie Jones, DiJonai Carrington and Kaila Charles are important pieces for coach Curt Miller. Connecticut is fifth in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.4% as a team. The Sun are eighth in three-pointers per game (6.9) and fourth in three-point percentage (35.3%) on the year. Connecticut has been mediocre at the charity stripe as they convert on 81.3% of their attempts, which is 6th in the league. Alyssa Thomas is still out as she recovers from offseason surgery for a torn Achilles.

Pick: Connecticut Sun

We’re looking at two teams heading in opposite directions as the regular season winds down. New York has dropped seven straight and 10 of 11 entering this one to drop out of the playoff picture in the final week of the season. New York needs wins and help to get back on the right side of the cut line. Meanwhile, Connecticut has reeled off 12 straight regular season wins and have earned the top seed in the WNBA playoff picture, not to mention one of the double byes to the semifinals. The Sun have been terrific at home, going 13-1 while outscoring opposing teams by 9.5 points per game. We’ve seen Connecticut beat New York by 21 and 17 points in the first two meetings this season and you can’t expect much different here. The Sun gets the win here to make it 13 straight.

Total: Under

Connecticut has seen the under hit in 20 of their 30 games on the year and they just throttled the Sparks, Wings and Mercury on the road in their last three games. The Sun are the league’s stingiest team when it comes to scoring defense while they are first in field goal percentage defense (41%) and third in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.8%) on the year. New York is the league’s worst scoring defense but the over is only a slight favorite in their games, going 16-14 on the year. The Liberty get a break, facing a Sun offense that is below average but when you make life tough on the defensive end, that works in your favor. We’ve seen the teams combine for 149 and 125 points in the two meetings this season. You can’t expect an offensive outburst here as this one ends up falling short of the total.

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Chris King

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.