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Jonquel Jones leads Liberty to season-opening win over Mystics

WASHINGTON — A new season can come with its first struggles, and the Liberty looked vulnerable as they opened their second year as a superteam Tuesday night against the Mystics.

Nothing about their 85-80 victory was great.

Much of the evening saw the Mystics testing the Liberty with big blocks and shots at the buzzer.

Jonquel Jones led the Liberty with 25 points, Betnijah Laney-Hamilton added 20 and Sabrina Ionescu had 15 despite shooting 1 of 7 from 3-point range.

Jonquel Jones of the New York Liberty drives to the basket during the game against the Washington Mystics on May 14, 2024. NBAE via Getty Images

Breanna Stewart also struggled, finishing with just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Down three at halftime and eight points after three quarters, the Liberty opened the fourth quarter on a 16-4 run to take a 75-71 lead and eventually pushed it to a 81-74 with 2:54 left.

But the Mystics mounted a final charge, thanks in part to fouls on Jones and Stewart.

Brittany Sykes took advantage, making three straight baskets to bring Washington within 81-80.

Betnijah Laney-Hamilton #44 of the New York Liberty drives to the basket during the game against the Washington Mystics. NBAE via Getty Images
Karlie Samuelson #44 of the Washington Mystics handles the ball during the game as Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the New York Liberty plays defense on May 14, 2024. NBAE via Getty Images

Ionescu extended the lead to 83-80 with two free throws with 15.8 seconds left, but the Liberty forced Karlie Samuelson into a long 3-point attempt that was off-target with 2.1 seconds left before Ionescu made two more free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining. .

The Liberty turned it over 20 times, leading to 19 points for the Mystics.

New York Post

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