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May 30, 2024 6:39 pm

Leaning on several stars, Liberty prepare to face winless Mystics

ionescu

While the WNBA season is still young, Friday’s matchup between the Washington Mystics and the host New York Liberty will see the league’s last remaining winless team take on one of its best outfits.

The Liberty (5-2), who started the season on a four-game win streak before dropping consecutive games last week, currently have the third-best record in the league. The Mystics (0-7) are bringing up the rear and rank last in the league in points per game (73.3).

As expected, Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu have led the charge for the Liberty, and both rank top-15 in the league in scoring. Stewart’s 18.6 points per game leads the team; Ionescu is not far behind at 16.4 ppg.

Ionescu had a team-high 22 points with nine assists and four 3-pointers in New York’s latest outing, an 81-78 home win over the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday. Jonquel Jones added 20 points and seven rebounds.

“That’s something that we’ve talked about, like where we can utilize (Jones) a little bit more, and finding ways to get her with some space,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said.

While the Liberty hope to continue cementing themselves as one of the league’s premier championship contenders, the Mystics continue to search for win No. 1 and something to build on.

Though it has not been smooth sailing in the Mystics’ first seven games, Ariel Atkins has emerged as a very bright spot for Washington. Her 2.3 steals per game is good enough for sixth in the league. She also leads the Mystics in scoring (13.6 ppg) and adds 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest.

Center Shakira Austin has also been a bright spot for the Mystics’ defense, with 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per game.

“It’s frustrating,” Austin told the Washington Post after Wednesday’s 73-67 loss to the Atlanta Dream. “Like Ariel said, can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Just got to continue to go to the drawing board. And I think as a group, we need to look into ourselves and stop looking for answers from the outside because it’s probably not going to come.”

–Field Level Media

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