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Aerial Powers, Lynx hang on to defeat Liberty

May 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the game ball during the preseason WNBA game between the New York Liberty and the China National Team at Barclays Center.  Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Aerial Powers scored 27 points Sunday as the Minnesota Lynx barely hung on to a 19-point third quarter lead to stop the host New York Liberty 84-77.

Sylvia Fowles added 18 for Minnesota (3-8), which beat New York for the second time in less than two weeks. Kayla McBride also hit for 18 points and Rachel Banham chipped in 11, including a pullup jumper in the last minute that gave the Lynx an 82-75 advantage.

Sabrina Ionescu fired in a game-high 31 points for the Liberty and dished out seven assists. Natasha Howard scored 20 points, but just four other players scored for them. New York misfired constantly from 3-point range, making only 4 of 30.

The Liberty (3-8) trailed 70-51 late in the third quarter, but rallied to cut the deficit to 78-75 when Ionescu canned an 18-footer with 2:39 left in the game. New York could have cut the deficit to one in the last two minutes, but Ionescu missed a layup. Minnesota responded with six straight points to put the game away.

The Lynx shot well, hitting 49.2 percent from the field and 7 of 13 on 3-pointers. They also earned a 36-34 edge on the boards and committed 15 turnovers, a vast improvement over the 26 they made in a Wednesday night loss in Atlanta.

Minnesota opened up a 9-2 lead less than 3 1/2 minutes into the game when Powers drove for a layup, but then it went nearly 5 1/2 minutes without scoring. Jessica Shepard’s layup with 4 seconds left gave the Lynx a 14-12 edge after one quarter.

The second quarter was “defense optional” for both teams. Minnesota opened up 11-point leads on four occasions while scoring 32 points in the period. The Liberty were able to stay within 46-37 at halftime after Ionescu sank a long 2-pointer in the final minute.

The third quarter was all Lynx. They expanded their lead to 70-51 when Fowles hit a short hook shot with 1:15 remaining, and they took a 71-55 cushion to the fourth.

–Field Level Media