NEW YORK – Sabrina Ionescu had a fantasy that she would hit a triumphant shot in her New York City debut.
That fantasy became reality when Ionescu made a 3-pointer from the wing with not exactly a second excess to give the New York Liberty a 90-87 triumph over the Indiana Fever on Friday night in the WNBA’s season opener.
“I 100% had a dream of hitting a game-victor,” said Ionescu, who was wearing guide Kobe Bryant’s Lakers pullover in the postgame newsgathering. “We were tied walking into the huddle and I was smiling. It was too good to be true. … I was ready for the moment.”
The No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft scored 25 focuses in her first game in almost 10 months subsequent to harming her lower leg three challenges into her freshman season that was played in Florida due to the Covid pandemic.
With the game on the line, she got the ball close to the wing and hit the profound shot to give the Liberty the lead with 0.4 seconds left. Indiana couldn’t get a shot off before the ringer on the opposite end.
Ionescu additionally had 11 helps and six bounce back in her Barclays Center presentation. The previous Oregon star scored the last eight focuses for New York, which followed 86-82 with 39.7 seconds left. Ionescu hit a 3-pointer from the wing and afterward made two free tosses with 21.8 seconds staying to tie it at 87.
“She has a beautiful uncommon method of ascending to the occasion. You will see it consistently by and by,” Liberty mentor Walt Hopkins said. “Those hotshot circumstances is the place where she sparkles, it’s what she lives for. I’m quite energized she’s in my group.”
After a break, Indiana worked the clock down before Kelsey Mitchell was required a voyaging infringement with 5.8 seconds left, setting up Ionescu’s champ with her family watching in the field. She stumbled into the court with her arms waving to the group after the ball went through the net.
Betnijah Laney scored 30 focuses to lead New York, and newbie Michaela Onyenwere added 18.
The Liberty were all the while missing Natasha Howard, whom they gained from Seattle in an exchange the offseason. She is wrapping up her abroad season in Italy. New York was additionally missing Kiah Stokes and Rebecca Allen, who are playing abroad too.
The Liberty had Laney, whom they endorsed as a free specialist in the offseason. The association’s Most Improved Player a year ago made her essence felt immediately by scoring 11 focuses in the principal quarter and had 20 at the half when the game was tied at 47.
“She was really awesome. I was asked before the game, who was the unexpected individuals should pay special mind to and I said Betnijah,” Hopkins said. “She’s a really special addition for us.”
New York drove by four heading into the final quarter, however Indiana utilized a 11-2 run halfway through the last quarter to go up 86-82.
Mitchell got done with 23 focuses, and Teaira McCowan added 22 focuses and 16 bounce back for Indiana.
The game warned the WNBA’s 25th season and was the Liberty’s subsequent standard season game ever at their new home, Barclays Center. They played a game against Seattle in the 2019 normal season at the field.
“Everybody has a tad of butterflies this evening. It’s an energizing time, it’s the 25th year. We’ve put a ton in this cycle and our group and what we’re attempting to achieve,” Fever mentor Marianne Stanley said before the game. “When the ball is thrown for the initial tip individuals will actually want to get comfortable.”