Crucial stretch upcoming for Liberty

Coming off Saturday’s 75-73 road win against the Phoenix Mercury, the Liberty remain on the West Coast for tonight’s meeting with the Seattle Storm and tomorrow’s tilt against the Los Angeles Sparks.

With six wins in their past seven contests, the Liberty (10-5) have taken a half-game lead over the Chicago Sky for first place in the Eastern Conference. Nearly halfway through the regular season, the next two games against underperforming teams are an opportunity for the Liberty to gain some momentum before heading into this weekend’s All-Star break.

Eye on the Storm

In this year’s draft, the Storm (5-12) selected guard Jewell Lloyd first overall and forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis third overall. Lloyd is Seattle’s third leading scorer with 9.5 points per game but Mosqueda-Lewis mostly has been a nonfactor in her eight minutes per game off the bench.

The Storm figure to struggle to put points on the board in this matchup, as their offense ranks last in the league in scoring while the Liberty allow the league’s second fewest points per game.

This will be Tanisha Wright’s first time back in Seattle since she signed with the Liberty this offseason after spending 10 seasons with the Storm.

Lacking a Spark

It hasn’t been an easy season for the Sparks (2-12), who sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Luckily for the Liberty, Candace Parker is not expected to make her season debut for Los Angeles until after the All-Star break.

Tina Charles, who yesterday was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for last week, and the rest of the Liberty’s interior defense will be tasked with containing power forward Nneka Ogwumike, who is averaging 17.9 points and 10.5 rebounds this season.