Sabrina Ionescu had 17 points and converted a go-ahead three-point play with 9.7 seconds remaining as the host New York Liberty snapped a five-game losing streak with an 83-80 victory over the Chicago Sky on Saturday night.
Down 80-78, Ionescu drove to the basket and drew contact and a foul from Chicago’s Rebekah Gardner as the ball went in. She calmly sank the free throw for a lead New York (10-17) wouldn’t give up.
Natasha Howard added 16 points with 10 rebounds, and Stefanie Dolson scored 13 for the Liberty, who shot 43.1 percent and blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead. Ionescu added nine assists and eight rebounds.
Playing a fourth straight contest without star point guard Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago (21-7) shot 37 percent and 3-of-24 from 3-point range to see its six-game winning streak end.
The Sky got 21 points and 11 rebounds from Candace Parker and 17 from Kahleah Copper. Gardner scored 16 off the bench.
The Sky defeated Dallas at home Friday night and didn’t arrive in New York until early Saturday afternoon due to travel issues.
Ionescu’s 3-pointer with 7:40 remaining in regulation put New York up 69-59.
However, Chicago used a 13-2 surge to take the lead. A Parker three-point play gave the Sky a 75-73 lead until Marine Johannes’ 3 put New York up 76-74. Gardner then made a breakaway layup off a steal to give the Sky a 77-76 Sky lead with 1:03 left.
Trailing by two at the half, New York’s first nine points of the third came from Dolson. A 7-0 run then helped the Liberty lead 55-48, but the Sky closed the gap to two.
However, Crystal Dangerfield knocked down a 3-pointer and the Liberty scored six of the final eight points of the third to lead 61-55 entering the fourth.
Perhaps showing some early fatigue, Chicago fell behind 8-0. However, the Sky scored the next 10 points. Chicago also posted an 8-0 run in the second quarter, where four straight free throws from Parker and Copper closed out the half for a 39-37 lead.
–Field Level Media