Sabrina Ionescu made WNBA history in just her sixth game, as the New York Liberty won their third straight to start the season.
Behind WNBA history from Sabrina Ionescu, the New York Liberty won their third straight game to open the season. The top pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft earned the first triple-double in team history (10th in league history) en route to an 86-75 win over the Minnesota Lynx. New York (3-0) has won their first three games of the season for the first time since 2007.
ESM has three stars from Tuesday’s win…
3rd Star: Betnijah Laney
20 points, 5 assists
Poor Laney had perhaps the quietest 20-point game in team history, but it says something that Tuesday’s output was her lowest-scoring effort of the season. She’s also making the most of her chances, sinking 8-of-12 opportunities. A corner triple from Laney made it 50-47 in the third quarter, giving New York a lead they would never relinquish after trailing at halftime.
2nd Star: Sami Whitcomb
13 points, 8 rebounds
In the lead-up to the Minnesota game, head coach Walt Hopkins referred to her as an “unsung hero” in the Liberty lineup. The two-time champion was anything but unsung on Tuesday, hauling in a career-best eight rebounds and helped man the interior when it looked like Sylvia Fowles was about to take over. Fowles scored 16 points in the first half, but was held to only 10 in the second, part of that tally coming when the outcome was decided. It was in part thanks to the rebounding efforts of Whitcomb, who also sank some clutch triples to permanently give the Liberty the lead.
1st Star: Sabrina Ionescu
26 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds
A kid from Brooklyn who needs no supersoldier serum, Ionescu’s first two outings on Atlantic Avenue have been downright historic. Whether it was through clutch deep shots (one first-half three was taken from the 25th anniversary logo near midcourt) or setting up her teammates down below (namely Kylee Shook), Ionescu made sure the Liberty suffered no hangover from their opening two wins over Indiana. Everyone knew the kind of impact Ionescu could potentially make on both a New York and national landscape, but even the most unapologetic fan of the Oregon Duck couldn’t have seen this coming.
The Liberty return to action on Friday night on the road against the Washington Mystics (7 p.m. ET, YES).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags