The New York Liberty dominated Indiana on Thursday night, winning by a whopping 36 points in the Fever's home opener. 

A sold-out crowd of 17,274 was in attendance to watch as star rookie Caitlin Clark finished the 102-66 defeat with nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists. It’s the first time since January 2021 — her freshman season at Iowa — that Clark's been held to single-digit scoring. 

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"The physicality is definitely up there... I'm easily pushed off screens," she told reporters after the loss. "The game seems a little fast for me right now. The more I play and the more comfortable I get, it's going to slow down a little bit. It will be easier for me to make reads, see things develop."

The Fever were outscored by a combined margin of 57 points in their first two games — the largest two-game point deficit in WNBA season-opening history, according to @ESPNStatsInfo.

"We've got to get to a level of toughness," Fever coach Christie Sides in her own postgame remarks. "When things are going south on us, we're not stopping the bleeding."

"I have great perspective on everything that happens," Clark added. "It was the same in my college career. There were some moments that were absolutely amazing. And there were some moments I was not happy with how I played and how my team performed. That's just life, that's just basketball."

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, who herself experienced a rocky rookie season following a much-hyped college career, offered up some insight on the matter.

"In this league, there are tough defenses all centered around not letting you get the ball, trapping, not letting you score," Ionescu said. "There were many factors that played into what was a tough first season for me in the league, but it helps you be able to figure it out. You have to have those experiences."

But it was reigning league MVP Breanna Stewart that truly stole the show, racking up 31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks on the night.

"In general, I just wanted to come out more aggressive coming off of last game," Stewart said after putting up the 24th 30-point game in her career.

Stewart she also commended the fans inside Indianapolis's packed Gainbridge Fieldhouse, noting that she hopes that level of support to continue across the WNBA.

"This is how you want every game to be and when it's a sell-out crowd, it gives you a similar playoff atmosphere feel," she said. "People want to be a part of this and the thing now is to continue to sustain it, continue to take the momentum that we have and turn it into something more."

Two-time WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and wife Marta Xargay are officially parents of two. Stewart announced the birth of their second child, son Theo Josep Stewart Xargay, in an Instagram post Sunday.

“Welcome to the world, little man,” Stewart wrote in the caption. “11 lbs., 12 oz. (your mama was a trooper).”

Stewart and Xargay initially announced the pregnancy on Mother’s Day in May, and Stewart revealing during the New York Liberty’s exit interviews after the WNBA Finals in mid-October that the baby boy was due the following week. Theo came into the world on Oct. 25.

The couple also have a daughter, Ruby. Since her birth in August 2021, she has become a fixture at Stewart’s games and in postgame press conferences.

While Stewart previously has played in international leagues during the offseason, she told the New York Daily News last week that she has not decided whether she will do so during this offseason. The Liberty intend to place the core designation on their star, who is a free agent this offseason, to keep her in New York.

“Once we get into a good groove of having two [kids], which I’m not sure when that group comes, we’ll figure out the rest,” Stewart said of her offseason plans.

New York Liberty players took exception to Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum’s criticism of their team following the WNBA Finals.

The Aces won a second consecutive WNBA championship, running it back with a very similar lineup to their 2022 title-winning season. After Wednesday’s series-clinching win, Plum pointed to Las Vegas’ long journey to that point — as compared to New York, which assembled its roster in the 2023 offseason.

“There was a lot of years that we weren’t so super,” she said. “But you can’t build a superteam in a couple of months. It takes years.”

Plum also questioned the Liberty’s team mentality.

“We also knew that, as much as they’re a team, they’re not a team, if that makes sense,” she told Yahoo Sports. “They’re really good individual players, but they don’t care about each other. And you can tell in those moments. They revert back to individual basketball.”

On Friday, Liberty players called out Plum’s comments in their end-of-season interviews.

“I think it’s easy to kick people when they’re down and you’re up, and honestly to me, it felt classless,” Jonquel Jones said. “You could celebrate with your team, and instead you chose to essentially s— on someone else.”

Sabrina Ionescu pushed back on the notion that New York isn’t a team, saying that “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“I’ve never been on a team that’s been more committed to one another than what it’s been like this year,” she said. “We had players that came together in a short amount of time… to try to win.”

Breanna Stewart sidestepped a question on Plum’s criticism, calling the Aces “phenomenal” and congratulating them on their win.

“Win or lose, we’ll just continue to carry ourselves with grace and keep that going forward,” she said.

Head coach Sandy Brondello admitted she had not looked much at social media since her team’s loss Wednesday, but she did say that what Plum said about the Liberty is “wrong.”

“I don’t even think I should comment, because I know it’s not true,” she said. “This team has grown so close together in a short period of time, and what Kelsey said is wrong.”

Plum then took to social media to clarify her comments.

“Since the media wants to do click bait, imma cut this drama out right now so we can move on and be in peace,” she wrote on X. “What I said was taken extremely out of context. I was trying to articulate my teammates and I have been through a lot and we used our bond to get over the hump.”

She also apologized for how her words came on, noting that she didn’t intend to “throw shade.”

“Never been the type to throw shade, quite the opposite actually,” she continued. “I see how it came off, never was my intention and I apologize. Our game grew immensely from this series, don’t let this bull shit detract from the biggest win here.”

The New York Liberty have no intention of letting go of Breanna Stewart anytime soon.

Ahead of the WNBA Finals, Stewart said that she hadn’t thought about free agency after signing a one-year deal with the Liberty. But she knew what her future likely held.

“I can pretty much almost guarantee that I’ll be cored, since I’ve never been cored,” she told The Athletic. “I’m happy in New York.”

On Friday, Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb confirmed Stewart’s hunch. New York will be placing the core designation on the the 2023 WNBA MVP. With the designation, Stewart will return to the Liberty on a one-year supermax deal.

“Stewie will 100% be cored,” he said. “She will not be an unrestricted free agent.”

Of course, that leaves open the question of other impending free agents, including Jonquel Jones. While Jones is an unrestricted free agent after joining New York via trade ahead of the 2023 season, bringing her back is a priority for the team – and Jones said Friday that she’s “definitely trending towards coming back” to New York.

“With JJ, it was a situation of trying to feel out this season,” Kolb said. “In the postseason, she was arguably our best player. … For us, it’s a player we definitely want to retain.”

Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson won the matchup of MVPs in the 2023 WNBA Finals over her New York Liberty counterpart Breanna Stewart.

Wilson won the Finals MVP award in the process. Her trophy haul should provide ample consolation for her loss to Stewart in the voting for the regular-season MVP award.

Of course, some might say Wilson deserved the 2023 WNBA MVP award over Stewart in the first place – including Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon, who has been vocal from the start about the snub. But Wilson, who did win the 2022 MVP award, set herself apart throughout the championship series, leading the Aces to a 3-1 win over the Liberty.

In the 2023 playoffs, Wilson averaged 23.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, beating out her New York Liberty counterpart. Stewart averaged 18.4 points and 10.2 rebounds, and through 10 postseason games shot just 35.8% from the field.

Stewart made 42.1% of her shots in Game 1 against the Aces, but in Game 2 was held to just 35.3% shooting. In the final game of the series, she shot 17.6% from the field and scored just 10 points. She went 67-187 in the playoffs, which is not what the Liberty needed from their star player.

Stewart also struggled with 3-point shooting, making just 19.6% of her shots from behind the arc in the postseason compared to 35.5% in the regular season. She sunk just nine 3-pointers out of 46 attempts in the playoffs.

And on Wednesday, New York put the ball in her hands for the game-winning shot — but she was denied by Alysha Clark. Still, if you ask head coach Sandy Brondello, the decision to put the ball in Stewart’s hands is one she’d made again.

“I put the ball in the hands of the MVP because we trust her. And it just didn’t work out today,” Brondello said. “It ended up with Breanna at the end, so it was just her trying to make a play from there. So, I [would] still do it again. That’s the right call.”

Stewart’s 10 points in the series-ending loss were the fewest she had scored in a game in the 2023 postseason.

“I think they would just throw whatever defense they had at us and make sure it was ugly,” Stewart said. “Sometimes we lost our flow and our ball movement, but [we were] confident behind all the shots that we got, and they just didn’t go in.”

Wilson, meanwhile, nearly doubled Stewart’s shooting percentages in the playoffs, going 82-for-148 from the floor. She shot 55.4% through nine playoff games.

With those numbers, Wilson finishes the playoffs having put together her best postseason to date. Last year, she averaged 20.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 55.2% shooting in the playoffs en route to the Aces’ first title – all career bests. She improved in all three categories this season.

Comparatively, this is one of the worst postseasons of Stewart’s career. She only averaged below 40% shooting in the playoffs one other time – in 2017, when the Seattle Storm were eliminated after one game. The only other time she’s been below 50% came in 2018, when Seattle played eight games en route to winning the title.

Her 19.6% 3-point shooting is particularly glaring, as she had never averaged below 40% in the playoffs, and averaged 50% or better in four out of the five previous postseasons in which she has played.

The New York Liberty are still alive.

Facing elimination in the 2023 WNBA Finals, the Liberty defeated the Las Vegas Aces, avoiding a series sweep with an 87-73 in Game 3.

The Liberty lost the first two games of the best-of-five championship series but rebounded with a victory in front of a sold-out crowd at Barclays Center. So far, the Finals have mirrored the regular-season series between the two superteams, as Las Vegas and New York each won the two games on their home courts.

The teams will play Game 4 at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday in New York. If necessary, Game 5 will be held at 9 p.m. ET Friday in Las Vegas.

Star center Jonquel Jones led the way for New York, scoring 27 points and bringing down 8 rebounds. Sabrina Ionescu dictated the tone of the Liberty’s offense, recording 11 assists along with 9 points.

Kelsey Plum scored 29 points in a losing effort for the Aces. Another significant loss for Las Vegas came in the fourth quarter, as guard Chelsea Gray exited the game with an apparent leg injury.

Playing in its first WNBA Finals since 2002, New York came out firing in Game 3 after losing the first two games of the series in Las Vegas. Head coach Sandy Brondello’s team led by three points at halftime before breaking the game open over the final two quarters.

The win came in front of an announced 17,143 fans at Barclays Center, the highest gate receipt ever for a WNBA Finals game. Dawn Staley, Joan Jett, Tony Parker and Jason Sudeikis were among those in attendance.

Becky Hammon isn’t letting go of the disrespect shown to A’ja Wilson in WNBA MVP voting.

Wilson finished third in voting for the award, behind winner Breanna Stewart and Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas. One voter even had Wilson in fourth place on their ballot. And following the announcement of MVP, Hammon brought evidence to reporters to argue Wilson’s case.

After Wednesday’s 104-76 win against the New York Liberty in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals, the Las Vegas Aces head coach reiterated her opinion, saying that Wilson’s third-place finish is “a joke.”

“This lady has been ridiculous, and she’s heard it all,” Hammon said. “Third in MVP voting? Okay. Rest on that. It’s a joke. She’s been off the charts efficient. She got – and I love Stewie, you know I love bigs that can shoot threes – but her efficiency on both ends, it’s been ridiculous.”

Hammon also attributed some of Wilson’s lower stat lines to the fact that she often rested her star player during the Aces’ blowout wins. Wilson had 26 points and 15 rebounds in the team’s blowout victory over New York on Wednesday.

The 2022 WNBA MVP also is averaging better numbers than she did in the regular season, putting up 24.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in the postseason. In Game 1 of the Finals, Wilson had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Three times, Wilson has eclipsed the 30-point mark in the playoffs, and she came close again Wednesday as the Aces took a commanding 2-0 lead in the championship series..

“If I would have played her as many minutes, she would’ve averaged 28 and 13,” Hammon said. “And that’s all anybody would’ve been talking about, but she got screwed because her coach didn’t play her in fourth quarters.”

A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces dominated against Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty to take a 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals.

In one highlight-reel play, Wilson faked a shot from the free-throw line, which sent her defender — Stewart, who won the 2023 WNBA MVP over Wilson — flying past her. Then Wilson casually took the ball in for a layup.

That sequence epitomized the entire game, which ended in a 104-76 win for the Aces. Wilson led her team with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum added 24 and 23 points, respectively, while Chelsea Gray contributed 14 rebounds and 11 assists.

By the end of the first quarter, Las Vegas held a 38-19 lead. Though the Liberty clawed their way back, trailing by just eight points at halftime, the Aces outscored them 28-13 in the third quarter to put the game away.

Jonquel Jones posted a first-half double-double for New York, she managed just 3 points and 0 rebounds in the second half. She finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds overall.

After losing the first two games of the best-of-five series, New York has dropped two games in a row for the first time this season. The Liberty will host the Aces in Game 3 at 3 p.m. ET Sunday at Barclays Center, and they will need a win to keep their title hopes alive.

While the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty have not literally come to blows, their battles throughout the year have packed a punch, as Aces guard Kelsey Plum and Liberty forward Breanna Stewart agreed before Game 2 of the WNBA Finals.

While the Liberty held the 3-2 edge over the Aces heading into the Finals, Las Vegas started the best-of-five series with a 99-82 statement win at home. The game also served as a response to New York’s previous victories over the Aces, all of which came in August.

In particular, the Liberty took over in the second halves in several of their meetings to secure emphatic victories. New York outscored Las Vegas 50-17 in the second half of a 99-61 win on Aug. 6, and then 50-29 in the second half of an 82-63 win in the Commissioner’s Cup final on Aug. 15.

In Game 1 of the Finals, though, the Aces effectively shut down Liberty guard Marine Johannès after she was lights-out in the first half. Las Vegas outscored New York by 20 points in the second half of the win.

“We’ve had some poor third quarters, and New York has really came out and punched us in the face,” Plum said. “And so I think it was kind of a team awareness, understanding that setting the tone to start the half is really important. Coming out being super focused and knowing our schemes.”

Of course, the Liberty are now the ones feeling the sting of defeat. And their ready to “punch back,” as Stewart said Tuesday.

“The playoffs are a roller coaster, a lot of positives and lows. And it’s gonna be who can stay even keeled and maintain their emotions the best, because punches are gonna be thrown at you, you’re gonna throw punches back, but who can continue to play on,” Stewart said. “Obviously losing Game 1 sucked and we’re not happy about it, but how are you going to respond for Game 2? This isn’t a sulk and put your head down moment, it’s like, alright, let’s get up, let’s be better and let’s show what we can do.”

And the Aces know to expect a fight from the Liberty in the second game of the series, especially now that New York has adjusted to the bright lights of the Finals.

“I remember my first game in the Finals last year. I was kind of wide-eyed. I didn’t really know what to expect, it just is a different feel,” Plum said. “So I expect them to come in and they have a ton of pride in that locker room, a lot of really good players. We’re gonna see a different team I feel like.”

The Aces will host the Liberty at Michelob Ultra Arena for Game 2 of the WNBA Finals at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Breanna Stewart’s star has never been brighter. Now she wants to give back.

Stewart wrote on X that she’d like to help bring a basketball court to a new community youth center in Jackson, Mississippi. She responded to a post from Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, who asked if any WNBA or WNBA teams would be interested in helping.

“Would love to help,” Stewart wrote. “How much do you need?”

Thomas told Stewart she would put her in touch with her executive director but hardly hid her excitement.

“Y’all. My mind is blown,” Thomas wrote.

Stewart recently won her second league MVP award, and now she’s back in the national spotlight as the Liberty challenge the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Finals.

Stewart averaged 23 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game during the regular season as the Liberty rolled to the second best record in the league, behind the Aces.

This is the Liberty’s first appearance in the Finals since 2002. Stewart, meanwhile, won two championships with the Seattle Storm.

“I’m making sure we enjoy this opportunity. We have an interesting mix of players that have never been here before, players that have, but this is the biggest stage and this is when you want to be at your best,” Stewart said to the media. “You obviously come here for the purpose of bringing a championship to New York.”