Sabrina Ionescu collected 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in three quarters as the host New York Liberty pulled away for an 88-69 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday night.
Ionescu topped 20 points for a career-high fourth straight game. The third-year guard made 10 of 11 shots and also hit 4 of 4 3-pointers as the Liberty produced their highest point total of the season.
The former top overall pick was particularly dominant in the third quarter when the Liberty outscored the Lynx 29-11 to turn the game into a blowout.
After hitting a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, Ionescu sank three more from behind the arc and scored 13 in the dominant third.
Han Xu added 15 as the Liberty (4-8) shot a season-high 45.1 percent and hit a season-high 12 3-pointers in their third win in four games following a seven-game skid. Rebecca Allen contributed 13 while Sami Whitcomb and Natasha Howard chipped in 11 apiece.
Kayla McBride scored 13 points for the Lynx (3-9), who were unable to earn consecutive wins for the first time this season. Aerial Powers was held to 11 after scoring 27 in Sunday’s win over the Liberty and Sylvia Fowles finished with 10 as Minnesota shot 32.8 percent and misfired on 19 of its 22 3-point tries.
The Liberty shot a scorching 61.1 percent in the opening quarter en route to a 28-19 lead. New York gained control by ending the quarter on a 14-2 run over the final 3:42, capped by a 3-pointer from Whitcomb with 32.5 seconds left.
After Powers made a layup cut New York’s lead to 34-33 with 3:14 left, Whitcomb’s 3-pointer gave New York a 39-33 lead. A little over a minute later, New York held a 45-37 lead when Ionescu hit a 3-pointer from halfcourt at the buzzer.
Ionescu reached 20 points when she sank another 3-pointer for a 52-41 lead with 7:50 left in the third quarter, and she hit another 3-pointer to push the lead to 59-43 with 5:22 remaining in the period. The lead reached 67-45 when Ionescu sank her fourth 3-pointer with 3:35 left and the Liberty took a 74-48 lead into the fourth when Michaela Onyenwere hit a long-range shot with 22.2 seconds left.
–Field Level Media