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Sami Whitcomb helps Liberty beat Wings for back-to-back wins

New York Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb reacts after

New York Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb reacts after she scores a three-point basket against the Dallas Wings late in the second half of a WNBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Monday, July 5. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Their last winning streak seemed so long ago.

On May 24, the Liberty beat Dallas at Barclays Center, good for their second straight victory. After that, they had been unable to stack one win on top of another.

But they had another shot for a winning streak Monday night after staging the franchise’s greatest comeback since 2003, climbing out of a 20-point hole to stun the visitors from Washington on Saturday.

Again, Dallas stood in the way at Barclays. And, again, the Liberty beat the Wings, this time 99-96.

Finally, two in a row.

Sami Whitcomb made six of the Liberty’s franchise-record 15 threes and paced five double-digit scorers with 26 points. Betnijah Laney added 18 points and seven assists and Jazmine Jones scored 16 points.

Sabrina Ionescu, who’s supposed to be on a minutes restriction of about 25 because of ankle troubles, played 29:14 and delivered 13 points and 12 of the team’s season-high 27 assists.

So the Liberty are 10-9 with two games left until the WNBA’s Olympic break.

"Getting back-to-back wins is huge, particularly now going into this break," Whitcomb said. "We want to be able to build a lot of momentum . . . "

The game was tied at 83-83 when Jones put the Liberty ahead with a three from the left corner. The Liberty kept responding with big shots. Whitcomb hit a three from the left side to make it 89-85. Laney nailed a left-side three for a 92-87 lead with 2:40 to go.

Isabelle Harrison, who scored 23 for the Wings (9-10), converted from in close to cut the deficit to 94-91 with 1:16 remaining. But Whitcomb made another three.

Harrison canned two from the line. Whitcomb then countered from 18 feet for a 99-93 advantage. Allisha Gray canned a three to slash it to three with 3.2 left.

"We were fortunate that everybody stepped up and had good games on offense, but we were pretty bad at times defensively," coach Walt Hopkins said despite the fact they held Arike Ogunbowale to 4-for-12 shooting and 12 points, 8.2 below her average at the start.

The Liberty led by four at the intermission, but they opened it up to 66-56 in the third quarter with a 6-0 burst powered by three assists from Ionescu. The last two were long yet perfect feeds to Laney.

The lead shrunk to 74-69 after three. But the Liberty emerged with a winning streak.

"I think we’re finally coming together," Laney said, "and we’ve been doing what we’ve been talking about all season, putting it together for four quarters."

New York Sports