|9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET16:00 GMT0:00 9:00 AM MST11:00 AM EST20:00 UAE17:0012:00 ET10:00 AM CTNaN:� , June 18, 2023
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York Attendance: 9,278
Mercury, Liberty both eyeing return of star players
The New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury both experienced double-digit losses as some of their stars watched from the sidelines due to injuries.
Both teams are hoping to bounce back from ugly performances and get their stars back Sunday afternoon when New York hosts Phoenix in Brooklyn.
The Liberty (6-3) scored more than 100 points in back-to-back home wins over Atlanta and Dallas. Sabrina Ionescu scored 37 in the win at Atlanta but has missed the past two games with a left hamstring issue.
Without Ionescu, the Liberty took an 86-79 home loss to the Dream on Friday night. Marine Johannes scored a team-high 18 points while starting for Ionescu but Breanna Stewart was held to 12 points on 1-for-14 shooting.
Ionescu's absence seems to be a precaution in response to her calf injury last season. It is possible she could return Sunday.
"She's not injured," New York coach Sandy Brondello said of the fourth-year guard. "Give her a few days off and hopefully that will do the trick, because we want Sabrina to feel 100 percent We know when she's not. We saw that at the start of last year when she carried a calf injury. It wasn't good for her or for us."
Phoenix (2-7) heads to New York after five losses in six games, with the past three by double figures. The Mercury got their second win a week ago by beating the Wings but head to New York after an 88-69 loss against the host Washington Mystics on Friday.
Against Washington, the Mercury were missing Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. Without their top two scorers, the Mercury were outscored 28-14 in the first quarter and finished the game shooting a season-worst 39 percent with 17 turnovers.
Michaela Onyenwere had 20 points and nine rebounds and Sophie Cunningham added 13 points after scoring 21 against Seattle on Tuesday when Griner injured her hip and Taurasi was held scoreless.
"Our defense has got to be dialed in, our offense has got to know what we're going to run," Cunningham said. "People have to know the plays and the position, but it's a long season. Again, enough is enough and we have got to turn it around."
--Field Level Media
Updated June 17, 2023