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Liberty visit Mystics after snapping 7-game slide

Jun 1, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello and guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) talk prior to a substitution in the first quarter against the Indiana Fever at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Liberty have put a seven-game skid behind them and look to post consecutive wins for the first time this season when they visit the Washington Mystics on Friday night.

The Liberty halted their slide with an 87-74 home win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday.

New York (2-7) made a season-high 11 3-pointers but coach Sandy Brondello was most pleased with the rebounding, where the Liberty held a 39-33 edge.

“It’s a mindset. It’s doing the little things well and it’s everyone, not just the post players,” Brondello said after the victory. “It’s just having a physical mentality and finishing plays because it’s been an Achilles heel for us a little bit. Hard to get out and run when you have to take it out of bounds every time.”

The Liberty outscored Indiana 47-27 in the second half during their first win since an 81-79 triumph over the Connecticut Sun in their May 7 season opener.

Sabrina Ionsecu scored 23 points for her third 20-point outing. She leads New York with a 13.8 scoring average.

Washington (7-3) also played Indiana in its most recent game, notching an 87-75 road win on Tuesday.

Ariel Atkins poured in a season-best 28 points for her third 20-point effort of the campaign. She also tied a season best with four 3-pointers.

“Our defense was better so that made our offense flow a lot better,” Atkins said of scoring 21 of her points in the second half.

Atkins is averaging 16.4 points, second on the squad behind Elena Delle Donne, who averages 17.9 points and 6.6 rebounds (both team highs).

Delle Donne is thriving after major back injuries and COVID-19 concerns limited her to three games in two seasons. Washington is 5-2 with the two-time WNBA MVP on the court.

“I don’t think that is very complicated,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said after Delle Donne scored 19 against Indiana. “You’re putting an MVP back in the lineup. It makes every team better.”

New York sustained a blow Wednesday when Betnijah Laney underwent surgery to repair meniscus damage in her right knee. The 2021 All-Star is slated to miss approximately eight weeks.

–Field Level Media