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May 31, 2024 10:02 pm

Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty keep Mystics winless

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Sabrina Ionescu’s 24 points and four 3-pointers led the way for the New York Liberty, who used a 32-point outburst in the first quarter to keep the visiting Washington Mystics winless with a 90-79 victory on Friday.

Breanna Stewart’s fifth double-double of the season (18 points, 15 rebounds) also helped boost the Liberty (6-2), who won their second straight after two straight losses. Kayla Thornton (20 points) and Jonquel Jones (16 points, 10 rebounds) also eclipsed double digits for New York.

The game was within single digits for the majority of the second half, but after falling behind in the fourth quarter, the Liberty responded with a 12-2 run in the last five minutes of the game. A pair of 3-pointers from Jones and Thornton coupled with four points from Stewart locked up another victory for New York.

Washington’s 0-8 start matches the worst start in franchise history, set by the 2007 rendition of the team. The team has not won a game since their regular-season finale against the Liberty last season.

Ariel Atkins was one of the few bright spots of the Mystics’ loss. Her team-leading 15 points marked her fifth double-digit performance of the season, while Shakira Austin’s 12-point performance marked the only other double-digit output by a Washington starter.

Myisha Hines-Allen and Jade Melbourne both contributed 11 points off the bench, but their efforts were not enough to push the Mystics over the top.

Ionescu scored 15 of her points in the first quarter alone, helping New York build its initial cushion. She went 3-of-5 from 3-point range, including back-to-back treys with less than 3 minutes to go that helped the Liberty build a 27-10 lead. She then beat the buzzer from 30 feet to end the period for a 32-17 advantage.

The Mystics responded with a 28-point second quarter to draw within 49-45 at the break.

–Field Level Media

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