WNBA: Breanna Stewart, Liberty go for season sweep of Fever

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The WNBA-best New York Liberty will look for their sixth straight win when they visit the Indiana Fever on Saturday in Indianapolis.

New York (17-3) hasn’t had much trouble against Indiana (8-13), winning all three previous meetings this season by a combined margin of 83 points. The Liberty also eclipsed the 100-point mark in two of three showdowns with the Fever.

Breanna Stewart has had plenty of success against the Fever this season, averaging 22.7 points while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor. Stewart is coming off a 17-point, 17-rebound double-double in a 76-67 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday. The forward also had three assists, two steals and two blocks in the home victory over Minnesota, which beat New York 94-89 in for the Commissioner’s Cup championship on June 25.

While Stewart has impressed against the Fever, the Liberty have gotten contributions throughout their lineup in the series with Indiana. At least four Liberty players scored in double figures in each of their three games.

Jonquel Jones is also coming off of a big performance after recording a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double against the Lynx.

New York has been tough to crack defensively. The Liberty used a 15-0 fourth-quarter run to pull away against the Lynx and limited Minnesota to just eight points in the final quarter.

“Defense is about hard work; are you willing to do it or not?” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. “And we’re willing to do it, and we’ve talked about that. (Minnesota’s) a team that beat us, but we can go to another level. I think we’ve shown that a lot in the fourth quarter this year. We can go to another level defensively.”

Indiana’s Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with a team-high 21 points in their most recent showdown with the Liberty on June 2, while Aliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark were limited to eight combined points.

Mitchell has scored in double figures in eight straight contests entering Saturday. She became the 19th player in WNBA history to make 500 career field goals in Indiana’s 88-69 loss to the Las Vegas Aces on Tuesday.

Overall, Indiana has made some strides since starting the season 2-9, a stretch that included three losses to the Liberty. The Fever, however, have lost three of their past four games.

They plan on incorporating some lessons learned from their recent loss to the Aces when they host New York.

“The way we battled defensively for three quarters,” Fever coach Christie Sides said of one positive in the loss to the Aces. “We lost the first quarter, 26-24, we were putting the ball in the hole. We were getting stops, we held them to 20 and 19 in the second and third. We just got to get back to Indianapolis.

“They’re already talking about getting shots up. We have to put the ball in the hole. We had great looks. We’re trying to get the ball inside. We were 14-of-27 at the rim; we have to be better. That percentage has to be better.”

–Field Level Media

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