Lynx fall to Liberty as New York’s Sabrina Ionescu reigns supreme
The Lynx (3-9) had beaten the Liberty 84-78 on May 24 at Target Center and 84-77 this past Sunday in Brooklyn despite 31 points from Ionescu.
NEW YORK -- For the second time in three days, the Minnesota Lynx struggled to find answers for Sabrina Ionescu.
The first time didn’t cost them. The second one Tuesday night certainly did.
Ionescu finished with 26 points as the New York Liberty pulled away in the second half to beat the Lynx 88-69 at the Barclays Center in front of a crowd that included WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
Kayla McBride finished with 13 to lead Minnesota.
The Lynx (3-9) had beaten the Liberty 84-78 on May 24 at Target Center and 84-77 this past Sunday in Brooklyn despite 31 points from Ionescu. Minnesota was going for the season sweep Tuesday, but those efforts were thwarted by a big night for New York from 3-point range.
The Liberty (4-8), who finished 4 for 30 from beyond the arc in the loss to the Lynx on Sunday, finished 12 for 33 Tuesday. That included a 4 for 4 performance from Ionescu, the third-year pro out of Oregon.
Minnesota — which went just 3 for 22 from 3-point range — led by as much as three twice in the first quarter, including at 17-14 after a pair of free throws by forward Jessica Shepard with 3:42 to play. But the Liberty ended the quarter on a 14-2 run to jump on top 28-19.
Minnesota turned the ball over six times in the first quarter, leading to nine New York points. The Lynx finished with 12 turnovers in all
Minnesota pulled within one on a basket by guard Aerial Powers with 3:14 remaining before halftime. But New York guard Sami Whitcomb hit two of her three first-half 3-pointers down the stretch, then Ionescu drained a 3-pointer from half-court as time expired to give her team a 45-37 lead.
New York would then outscore Minnesota 29-11 in the third quarter —including 17 of the second half’s first 23 points — to pull away for good.
The Lynx return home to face Washington at 7 p.m. Friday at Target Center. It marks the start of a three-game homestand.
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