Howard joins Ionescu on All-Star squad
Liberty tandem to represent Brooklyn in Windy City
Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard have helped the New York Liberty climb the standings during the past month.
Now, they’ll both represent the Brooklyn-based WNBA squad at the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game.
“Natasha is incredibly deserving of this All-Star honor,” said Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello after Howard was selected via the reserve vote to play alongside starter Ionescu in Chicago on July 10 at Wintrust Arena.
“Her consistency on both ends of the floor has been key for us this season, and we’re very proud to have her represent the Liberty in Chicago.”
Howard, the Liberty’s top scorer and second-leading scorer, will make her second career All-Star appearance. She is averaging 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over 18 games thus far this season.
The veteran forward had 19 points and 10 rebounds last Friday night in Atlanta as the Liberty closed out a perfect 2-0 road trip with an 89-77 victory over the Dream, giving them seven victories in 10 games since a season-high seven-game skid threatened to derail their campaign.
“With our leadership, we’ve had enough poise and discipline on and off the floor,” Howard said of New York’s resurgence.
Ionescu, a first-time All-Star, scored 21 points, including five of New York’s franchise-record 16 3-pointers.
She added nine boards and eight assists to drive the Liberty back to Brooklyn, where they’ll look to complete their first three-game winning streak of the year Thursday in a return match with Atlanta.
Howard and Ionescu will represent the Liberty (8-10) as just the 11th pair of New York players to reach the All-Star Game in the same season.
Both have been getting plenty of help from their fellow teammates throughout New York’s ascension to seventh place in the league following a dismal 1-7 start.
On Friday, Marine Johannes scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, for the Liberty, who opened the fourth quarter with a flurry of made shots from beyond the arc.
Ionescu, Crystal Dangerfield and Sami Whitcomb each made 3s before Howard added four straight points to cap a decisive 13-4 run that gave New York an 81-68 cushion.
“I think we have so many weapons offensively,” said Ionescu. “The floor is continuing to open up for all of us. … All of us are just learning who is the hot hand.”
AD Durr poured in 23 points for Atlanta (8-9), which remained one-half game in front of the Liberty for sixth place pending the outcome of Thursday’s rematch at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
GIVE ME LIBERTY: The Liberty will celebrate their eighth annual PRIDE Game at Barclays Thursday. The organization was represented at several NYC-based PRIDE events throughout the month, including Brooklyn Pride, Harlem Pride and NYC PrideFest. The night will commemorate PRIDE and the LGBTQIA+ community through pre- and postgame events. … At 51 career games, Ionescu became the seventh-fastest player to 100 made 3-pointers in WNBA history Friday. … New York posted season highs for points in the first quarter (33) and first half (53) vs. Atlanta. … The Liberty have not won three straight games since May 14-18, 2021.
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