LIBERTY'S SHOOK, JONES OFF TO 3-0 START IN WNBA
It's never "out of season" to talk a little women's basketball and it's time we talk about the NY Liberty in the WNBA.
They have begun the WNBA 2021 season with a 3-0 record and are atop the WNBA's standings. Last night, the Libs broke open a close first half with the Minnesota Lynx with a nine-point third quarter edge and went on to take a 86-75 win.
Let's look at our two UofL WBB standouts that are on the Liberty roster -- Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones:
Shook has been starting at center for New York and is averaging 27.3 minutes a contest. She's scored 22 points so far, an average of 7.3 a contest and has 16 rebounds...for 5.3 an outing. Her season high in points came last night against the Lynx with 10.
Jones is coming off the bench for New York and is seeing 13.6 minutes per game. Jaz has 12 points on the season so far, good for 4.0 a night and had 10 against the Indiana Fever on a Sunday May 16th., 73-65 win in Indianapolis. Jones also has five rebounds in the three games.
The two are an integral part of a NY Liberty team that is outscoring opponents by an average of eight points a contest.
The big news in Brooklyn is the play of forward Betnijah Laney and guard Sabrina Ionescu in the first three games.
Laney, a former Rutgers standout, is averaging 23.3 points a game and shooting a sizzling 53% from the floor. In her sixth year in the league, Laney is already on her fifth WNBA team, but seems to have found a home with the Liberty. She was named the most improved player in the league has year and has come a long way since being waived by the Chicago Sky in the 2017 season and suffering a torn ACL.
Ionescu is back for her second year as a Lib player. The Oregon great got off to a excellent start last year in three games before she suffered a severe ankle sprain that sat her down for the season. Sabrina is averaging 21.0 points a contest for the Liberty so far this year. She went for 26 against Minnesota in the Liberty's last outing and also had 10 rebounds and 12 assists -- achieving that rare triple-double. It was the first triple-doible of her career.
A fun fact about Ionescu is that she is the only player in the WNBA whose last name starts with "I". Going one step further, how many UofL WBB players can you remember whose last name started with "I" and who was the last one? (Answer at the end of today's article)
One has to wonder how much more greater the Libs could be if Asia Durr was able to perform her magic on the court....
New York has been starting Ionescu, Laney, Shook, Sami Whitcomb and Michaela Onyenwere this season -- giving them a strong PAC 12 look in that starting lineup, since Whitcomb played at Washington and Onyenwere starred at UCLA.
New York's next three game are against Washington on Friday, Chicago on Sunday and Dallas on Tuesday. It's possible that Cardinals legend Myisha Hines-Allen might be back from Europe in time to play for Washington against the Liberty. And, Dana Evans awaits her former teammates when the Liberty take on the visiting Dallas Wings next week.
Let's hope our Cardinals in the WNBA that are playing currently can remain healthy and be contributors to their squads. And, let's hope we can eventually get Angel and both Asia's back out on the court.
(here's the answer to my earlier question -- there have been three UofL WBB players whose last name has started with "I". -- Shamika Ingram (1998-2002), Michelle Irwin (1998-1989) and Sandee Itell (1985-87)
Jeff Walz has never had a player on the Louisville roster whose last name began with "I". Let's hope Dino Gaudio doesn't try to extort UofL or Coach Walz for this...maybe I need to call Walz and tell him not to take the old adage "There is no 'I' in Team" so literally. Maybe Alyssa Iverson (Liberty) will transfer here next year, or Coach will go after Jennah Isah from Valley Vista H.S. in Surprise, Arizona..this injustice must end ! Cortnee Walton came out of Surprise, AZ and she was pretty good, right?
Have a wonderful Wednesday!