Sabrina Ionescu buried a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to give the New York Liberty a dramatic 90-87 victory over the Indiana Fever in the WNBA season opener.
Ionescu scored New York’s final eight points while playing in her first game since badly injuring her left ankle over nine months ago in the third contest of her rookie season. She recorded 25 points, 11 assists and six rebounds on Friday.
“I’m just excited to get back playing and doing what I love,” Ionescu said in a postgame interview on NBA TV. “This is what I love doing. The highs, the lows. This really pays off.”
Betnijah Laney scored a game-high 30 points in her New York debut after being signed as a free agent in the offseason. Michaela Onyenwere added 18 points.
Kelsey Mitchell scored 23 points and Teaira McCowan added 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Fever.
Game winner by @sabrina_i20! #OwntheCrown pic.twitter.com/kuIvhjAYFH
- WATCH: Friday’s best plays and performances
Friday night’s WNBA results
Minnesota Lynx 75-77 Phoenix Mercury
Diana Taurasi scored 14 points, including a decisive 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left, as three-time WNBA champions Mercury defeated the Lynx.
The Lynx had a one-point lead and the ball before Brianna Turner made a steal and Taurasi, who had made just 2 of 12 shots, hit the game-winner.
Skylar Diggins-Smith added 18 points, while Brittney Griner had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Turner finished with 13 points and 10 boards and Kia Nurse scored 10 points for Phoenix.
Aerial Powers scored 18 points, Kayla McBride and Crystal Dangerfield added 17 each and Sylvia Fowles had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota.
Dallas Wings 94-71 Los Angeles Sparks
Allisha Gray scored 23 points and No 1 overall pick Charli Collier notched a double-double in her professional debut as the visiting Wings surged past the Sparks.
Collier, a 6-foot-5 forward from Texas, hit 4 of 6 shots for 11 points and hauled in 10 rebounds for the Wings, while Gray added nine rebounds, four assists and four steals to her big scoring effort.
Arike Ogunbowale, the 2020 WNBA leading scorer, opened up the new campaign with 17 points in just 20 minutes.
Sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike led Los Angeles in scoring with 18 and 12 points, respectively.
But the Sparks shot a rough 35.9 per cent from the field and only managed 44 points in the final three quarters after a strong start.
She knew she could so she did …
Get a double-double in her #WNBA debut! ?#TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/Xlpu8aVfJT
Atlanta Dream 67-78 Connecticut Sun
Jonquel Jones, returning to the WNBA after opting out last season because of COVID-19, scored 16 of her game-high 26 points in the first quarter in the Sun’s season-opening win against the Dream.
Jones made 10 of 15 shots from the field, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range as a post player. She also had eight rebounds, contributing to Connecticut outrebounding Atlanta 42-26.
DeWanna Bonner added 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Sun.
IT’S BEEN 582 DAYS SINCE JJ WAS ON THE FLOOR IN A SUN UNIFORM.
She just dropped 16 points in the first quarter. #BornForThis
Courtney Williams and Odyssey Sims each had 14 points for Atlanta. Williams, who played with the Sun from 2016-19, was 2 for 4 from 3-point range and Sims, a free-agent pickup who played with the Minnesota Lynx last year, was 1 of 2 from that far.
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