Despite playing without their star guard Sabrina Ionescu, the New York Liberty ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Phoenix Mercury 85-83 on Sunday.
The Liberty improved their record to 6-4 while the Mercury have now lost three straight games en route to dropping to 5-6. In addition, the Mercury are now 3-4 since Diana Taurasi was ruled out due to injury.
Betnijah Laney bounced back from snapping her 20-point streak, nearly recording a triple-double with 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Jazmine Jones came off the bench to post 16 points and seven rebounds (both season-highs).
Sami Whitcomb started in place of Ionescu, finishing with 14 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals. Kylee Shock finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
Britney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith combined to score 54 of the Mercury’s 83 points. Griner finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks while Diggins-Smith had 25 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The game began as a back-and-forth affair with the Mercury leading 11-10 with 5:21 remaining in the opening quarter. From that point, the New York Liberty blitzed the Mercury, outscoring them 16-4 fueled by 10 points from Betnijah Laney.
The Liberty ended the first quarter up 12 points. The Mercury struggled from the field in the opening period, shooting 4-of-17.
The New York Liberty continued to build their lead in the second quarter, peaking with 2:07 remaining in the first half when they led by the score of 48-31. The Mercury scored five straight points to end the half down 48-36.
The Mercury began to get back in the game in the third quarter scoring the first nine points of the period. That set the tone for the second half as they would battle to eventually tie the game with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Liberty put the game away with a dagger jumpshot by Betnijah Laney with 34.9 remaining.