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Jun 8, 2024 3:33 pm

Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty deal Sun first defeat

Connecticut Sun Stephanie White

Sabrina Ionescu scored 24 points and reached a milestone as the visiting New York Liberty handed the first loss of the season to the Connecticut Sun, 82-75 in a matchup between the WNBA teams with the best records Saturday afternoon at Uncasville, Conn.

Jonquel Jones racked up 22 points, while Breanna Stewart’s 13 and Betnijah Laney-Hamilton’s 10 also were boosts for the Liberty (10-2), who scored the game’s final six points and shot 51.7 percent from the field.

The Sun (9-1) had matched the fourth-best start to a season without a loss in WNBA history.

DeWanna Bonner’s 16 points led Connecticut, while Brionna Jones had 13, DiJonai Carrington and reserve Tiffany Mitchell each scored 12 points and Tyasha Harris finished with 11. Alyssa Thomas provided 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Ionescu has totaled 300 successful 3-point shots faster than any player in WNBA history, doing so in her 117th career game. She went 2-for-6 from long range on Saturday.

The Sun shot only 4-for-16 on 3-point attempts, while the Liberty were 9-for-25 from beyond the arc.

Connecticut closed to within 74-72 with just less than two minutes remaining in regulation on Carrington’s drive for a basket. Then it was 76-75 after the Sun’s Harris drained a 3-pointer, but New York’s Jones matched that before Ionescu tallied another bucket following a Connecticut turnover.

New York led for most of the game, but the Sun surged to a 62-57 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Liberty got it back together, scoring the next seven points.

Connecticut never led again. It was another close outcome for the Sun, which had won four games, including one in overtime, by four points or fewer. This time, they couldn’t pull it out.

The Liberty broke out a 12-point edge in the first quarter. But in the next stretch of nearly six minutes, they scored only six points and the Sun made a move. The score was 39-39 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

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