Struggling Liberty drop fourth straight
New York ends 0-3 homestand with 92-65 loss to Connecticut
By the time the New York Liberty return to Downtown’s Barclays Center on June 1, they’d better have picked up a win or two on their upcoming road trip.
Otherwise, our borough’s WNBA team will be in hauntingly familiar territory.
All-Star Betnijah Laney scored 16 points and Stefanie Dolson added 13, but the Liberty dropped their fourth straight game, 92-65, to the Connecticut Sun Tuesday night in front of 3,054 fans on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.
New York (1-4), which has averaged just under five wins the past four seasons, began this year with renewed hope as Sabrina Ionescu, Natasha Howard, Laney and reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere appeared primed for a big campaign.
But after Ionescu led the Liberty to an Opening Night win here in Brooklyn, the team has struggled mightily, losing each contest by double digits, except for a tough overtime defeat to Indiana last Friday in the opener of this 0-3 homestand.
Ionescu was limited to only two points on 1-of-4 shooting with six rebounds and four assists against the Sun (2-1), who avenged an 81-79 loss here in the opener for both teams on May 7.
The two-time Wooden Award-winning Ionescu has yet to display the consistent form that made her a potential savior
for New York, which eked into the postseason last season before losing to Phoenix in a WNBA play-in game.
Ionescu, who reportedly received the fourth-year option on her contract from the Liberty, had a team-high 17 points and six assists in Sunday’s loss to Dallas here after putting up 31 points in the OT loss to Indiana at Barclays.
None of it has produced better results for New York, which dropped 11 of its final 13 games in 2021.
DeWanna Bonner scored 16 points and Natasha Heideman added a season-high 15 for Connecticut, which used an 18-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to take the lead for good.
The Liberty also committed a season-high 29 turnovers, just one off the franchise record established in 1998.
“I thought we had a really good start and then we made really bad decisions,” said Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello. “The other team played a part in it, but we’ve got to be smarter than that.”
New York will open a three-game road trip next Tuesday in Minnesota. After back-to-back games in Seattle from May 27-29, the Liberty will host Indiana here on June 1.
“We have to do the little things a bit better,” Brondello added.
GIVE ME LIBERTY: Liberty center Xan Hu, the WNBA’s tallest player at 6-foot-10, sat out Tuesday’s loss with a non-COVID illness. Jocelyn Willoughby (knee) and DiDi Richards (hamstring) also missed the contest. … The WNBA record for most turnovers in a game is 33, established by the Utah Starzz in 1997. … March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, last week announced a new partnership with the Liberty. The organizations will work together to raise awareness of the maternal and infant health crisis which disproportionately impacts communities of color. “The leadership and players at the Liberty are incredible role models and like us, deeply concerned about improving health outcomes for moms and babies in their community, as well as the country,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “Through this partnership, we believe that we can amplify our voice, expand our support and make real change toward changing the course of the maternal and infant health crisis.”
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