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 season opener for both teams on Friday night.
Ionescu scored New York's final eight points while playing in her first game since badly injuring her left ankle 9 1/2 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.
Tiffany Mitchell didn't get her 3-point attempt off before time expired on Indiana's final possession.
A putback by Jantel Lavender gave Indiana its initial second-half lead at 82-81 with 1:56 left and Kelsey Mitchell followed with a jumper 24 seconds later.
The Fever led by four before Ionescu buried a 3-pointer to pull New York within 86-85 with 39.7 seconds to play.
After Kelsey Mitchell split two free throws, Ionescu made two free throws to tie it at 87 with 21.8 seconds left.
Kelsey Mitchell was called for traveling with 5.8 seconds left prior to Ionescu's fourth 3-pointer of the game.
New York connected on 47.0 percent of its field-goal attempts and went 13 of 26 from 3-point range.
The Fever shot 42.0 percent, including 3 of 18 from 3-point range, and owned a 45-28 rebounding advantage.
New York led 68-64 entering the final stanza and Ionescu and Laney opened the quarter with baskets to push the lead to eight.
Indiana fought back and McGowan later scored a basket and Mitchell followed with five straight points as the Fever knotted the score at 75 with 4:10 remaining.
Ionescu answered with a three-point play and Laney added a basket to give the Liberty an 80-75 lead with 3:20 left before Indiana went on an 11-2 burst.
The contest was tied at 47 at the break with Laney having 20 points for New York.
--Field Level Media