The New York Liberty made a statement Thursday night despite losing to the Phoenix Mercury 83-82 and exiting the playoffs in the first round.
“We’re going to be back,” Betnijah Laney said postgame.
Laney nearly led the Liberty to the upset, hitting a three pointer with 2.7 seconds left to tie the game. She led the team in scoring, finishing with 25 points, four rebounds and three assists. Sami Whitcomb then fouled Brianna Turner on the inbounds pass. Turner would hit one of two free throws to win the game for the Mercury.
The Liberty hung around with the Mercury and had a chance to pull the upset, despite barely making the playoffs following an eight-game skid. A win in the final game of the regular season over the Washington Mystics gave them a chance at the playoffs before luck led to an unlikely berth.
Sabrina Ionescu, who finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, echoed Laney’s statements while also pointing to how she knows she can improve.
“We’re gonna start training camp at this level, so everything’s gonna change drastically,” she said. “We know each other now.
“I’ll have a year in the league knowing what defenses are going to throw at me. I’ll take the offseason to grow.”