The New York Liberty spoiled Chicago’s home opener on Sunday, defeating the Sky 93-85.
Shooting 50 percent from the three-point line, the Liberty started knocking down long-range shots early. Chicago responded to New York’s blistering offense with an aggressive defense, forcing turnovers throughout the opening half to keep the game tied 52-52 at the break.
Sabrina Ionescu made her presence known early, scoring or assisting on 30 of New York’s 52 first-half points. In total, Ionescu scored 19 points, draining five threes, while recording a career-high 12 assists.
Six players from the Liberty scored in the double-digits on Sunday, including Betnijah Laney, who led the team with 20 points. Laney has averaged a staggering 22 points per game so far this season, shooting 53% from the field.
Plenty of buckets and dimes from @sabrina_i20 today - and she also notched a career-high 5 3PM 👏#CountIt pic.twitter.com/KKAaRBcFCv— WNBA (@WNBA) May 23, 2021
Plenty of buckets and dimes from @sabrina_i20 today - and she also notched a career-high 5 3PM 👏#CountIt pic.twitter.com/KKAaRBcFCv
Chicago certainly missed Candace Parker, who is currently out with an ankle injury. Courtney Vandersloot still put on a show with 14 points and 16 assists, while Ionescu’s former Oregon teammate, Ruthy Hebard, dropped a double-double, with 15 points and ten rebounds. Diamond DeShields led Chicago in scoring with 22 points.
Ultimately, the Sky’s impressive defensive effort wasn’t enough to hold off the Liberty’s barrage of threes.
1️⃣5️⃣ ASSISTS FOR @Sloot22 📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/eqM7Ns7aaM— WNBA (@WNBA) May 23, 2021
1️⃣5️⃣ ASSISTS FOR @Sloot22 📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/eqM7Ns7aaM
The Liberty are now 4-1 to start the season and look increasingly like a legit title contender in every game they play. At 2-1, the Sky will be eager to factor Parker into an already churning offense once she is healthy.
New York will now head home to host the Wings at the Barclays Center on Monday night. Chicago will next face the Dream at home on Tuesday.