Tue, 22 Jun 2021

Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty look to complete sweep of Fever

Field Level Media
16 May 2021, 03:40 GMT+10

Sometimes, dreams do come true. Just ask Sabrina Ionescu.

The young leader of the New York Liberty dreamed that she would hit the game-winning shot Friday night against the Indiana Fever, and turned it into reality with a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left that lifted her team to a 90-87 win in Brooklyn.

Ionescu and New York try for a sweep of the teams' home-and-home series in the rematch on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Her leaning 25-footer from the left wing Friday night capped a 25-point, 11-assist performance. The Liberty trailed 86-82 with 39.7 seconds remaining before Ionescu rattled off their last eight points.

"I 100 percent had a vision of hitting the game-winner," she said. "We were tied walking into the huddle, and I was smiling. ... It was too good to be true."

New York appears to be much-improved over last year, and not just because Ionescu is healthy after missing all but three games of her rookie season after suffering a year-ending sprained ankle.

The Liberty added Betnijah Laney from Atlanta as a free agent signing in the offseason and she paid immediate dividends, pumping in a game-high 30 points. Ironically, it was Laney's foot that Ionescu stepped on last July to end her season.

As for Indiana, it was in position to open with a road win until Ionescu's late heroics. The Fever got 23 points from Kelsey Mitchell, plus 22 and 16 rebounds from Teaira McCowan. Indiana could have won the game in regulation, but Mitchell was whistled for walking with 5.8 seconds left, setting up Ionescu's game-winner.

Indiana wasted those strong individual efforts and its dominance on the boards. With Jantel Lavender adding 10 rebounds to McCowan's work, the Fever earned a 45-28 advantage on the glass.

"We've invested a lot in this process and what this team is trying to accomplish," said Indiana coach Marianne Stanley.

--Field Level Media

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