Short-handed Mercury lose to Liberty, swept in season series

Aug 18, 2023, 9:34 PM

Nikki Blue...

Head coach Nikki Blue of the Phoenix Mercury reacts during a WNBA game at Footprint Center on July 20, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Betnijah Laney scored 22 points, Sabrina Ionescu added 18 points and the New York Liberty used a big third quarter to beat the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 85-63 on Friday night.

Phoenix (9-22) was without Brittney Griner and Megan Gustafson due to the WNBA’s health and safety protocol. New York (25-7) played its fifth game in seven days, including an 82-63 loss to Las Vegas on Thursday.

New York scored 16 of the opening 21 points of the second half to extend its lead to 59-43. The Liberty outscored the Mercury 32-16 in the third quarter to take a 75-54 lead.

The teams combined for just 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Diana Taurasi and Sophie Cunningham each scored 14 points for Phoenix. Taurasi was 3 of 16 from the field as the Mercury shot just 35%.

Marine Johannes scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half for New York, which won its third straight game against Phoenix this season. Breanna Stewart had 12 points and eight rebounds and Courtney Vandersloot added eight assists. Jonquel Jones played just 20 minutes and scored six points.

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