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Jun 17, 2024 9:20 pm

Liberty’s 8-game win streak at stake in visit to Mercury

Jonquel Jones

Jonquel Jones is soaring as the New York Liberty aim to extend their winning streak to nine games when they visit the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night.

New York hasn’t lost since dropping back-to-back games on May 23 and 25. The Liberty (12-2) are a half-game behind the league-leading Connecticut Sun.

New York began its winning streak with an 81-78 home win over Phoenix on May 29. Sabrina Ionescu led the Liberty with 22 points and nine assists, while Natasha Cloud scored 21 for the Mercury.

Jones scored 20 for New York that day. She has reached the 20-point mark five times this season, including each of the past three games.

Jones had her best outing of the season on Sunday when she poured in a career-high 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting in a 90-82 road victory over the Las Vegas Aces.

“We came in knowing that we would be able to get a lot of open shots because the Aces congest a lot on defense,” Jones said afterward. “I just came in ready to shoot, and whatever they gave me, I took it.”

Jones is averaging 16.8 points and 8.7 rebounds and shooting 58.7 percent from the field. She is regularly displaying the form that saw her win league MVP honors in 2021 for the Sun.

She said she is most interested in seeing the Liberty improve.

“Watch film, get better, not being comfortable with what we’ve accomplished, but understanding there’s another level that we can take it to,” Jones said.

Phoenix (7-7) is receiving a lift from Brittney Griner, who has scored 24 or more points in each of the past three games. Griner has played in just four games after missing the first 10 with a fractured toe.

Griner scored 28 points in Sunday’s 87-78 win over the Seattle Storm.

“Just my teammates trusting in me, believing in me,” Griner said of her scoring success. “That’s what’s working well, honestly. We’re moving the ball well, playing inside out and attacking and keeping them on their toes.”

Offseason acquisition Kahleah Copper led Phoenix with 30 points, her league-best fifth 30-point game of the season.

“I keep saying I’m so glad she’s on my team and I don’t have to go up against her anymore,” Griner said of Copper, who is averaging 24 points per game. “That was so devastating back then. Man, I’m sorry, not sorry to people defending her because she is a beast, and she has made our team so much better.”

Copper had 20 points and nine rebounds in last month’s loss to the Liberty.

–Field Level Media

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