Brooklyn, NY—The New York Liberty found a way to fully utilize Sabrina Ionescu and all of her skill sets. Let Ionescu come off of screens and let her shoot. Which gives Sami Whitcomb more room to operate on the court.
Whitcomb poured in 26 points and Betnijah Laney chipped in 18 to help the New York Liberty beat the Dallas Wings 99-96 in Monday night game.
The WNBA tries to avoid playing their games on Monday with most clubs playing games on Saturday or Sunday.
Isabelle Harrison scored 23 points to lead Dallas (9-10), which couldn’t starve off a late run by the Liberty. Off-scoring night from Arike Ogunbowale, who became the third-fastest player in WNBA history to reach 1,500 points when she scored her fifth point in the first.
The only players to do it faster were Seimone Augustus and Cynthia Cooper. Later in the period, Ogunbowale hit double digits in points for the 56th consecutive game. Only five other players have done that in WNBA history.
Ogunbowale struggled throughout the contest and didn’t score again until the fourth quarter. She missed all six of her shots in the second and third, finally finding her groove when she tied the game at 83 with over four minutes left in the game. She finished with 12 points for the contest.
NY Liberty coach Walt Hopkins credited the play of Whitcomb on both ends of the court.
“Sami’s combination of defense, passing getting us into stuff, she did everything,” he said. “She played great defense to boot. When Sami’s locked in like that, it helps everybody. From the outset she was really, really locked in.”
Jazmine Jones had 16 points and Ionescu added 13 points and 12 assists for New York (10-9), who made a franchise-record 15 3-pointers on 31 attempts.
“On a night we didn’t shoot the ball as well as we did, we’re going to be pretty frustrated,” Hopkins said.
“Sometimes it’s nights like that,” said Dallas coach Vickie Johnson, who starred as a player for New York when the WNBA was just beginning in 1997. “Sometimes the ball goes in the basket.”
The Liberty got hot with 3 treys by Jones, Whitcomb, and Laney to extend the lead to 92-87 with 2:32 left on the clock. The Wings trimmed the deficit to 94-91 with just over a minute left, but Whitcomb hit her sixth 3-pointer of the game to put it away.
Whitcomb had 15 of her points in the first half when New York built a 51-47 lead. The Liberty push the tempo in the third and went up by 10 before the Wings regained their composure got within striking distance 74-69 heading into the fourth.
The Liberty earned consecutive wins for the first time since May 23-24 and set a franchise record with 15 three-pointers in a single game.
Five players for NYL reached double figures, paced by 26 from Sami Whitcomb and 18 from Betnijah Laney. Jones chipped in 17 points off the bench. The Lib has won each of the first two matchups and will face the Wings one last time on September 11.
Wings: At Minnesota on Wednesday.
Liberty: At Indiana on Friday.