Liberty forward Jonquel Jones shoots over Las Vegas Aces forward...

Liberty forward Jonquel Jones shoots over Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson for a three-point basket late in the second half of Game 3 of the WNBA basketball finals at Barclays Center on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

WASHINGTON — Jonquel Jones scored 25 points, Betnijah Laney-Hamilton added 20 and the Liberty opened the season with an 85-80 victory over the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.

The Liberty trailed 67-59 entering the fourth quarter before scoring 22 of the next 29 points, going ahead for good at 72-71 with 5:56 left on a basket by Laney-Hamilton. She also stole an inbounds pass and converted a layup to make it 79-74 with 3:30 remaining.

Brittney Sykes scored eight straight points for Washington, including a layup on three straight possessions, to get within 81-80 with 2 minutes to go. But the Mystics would not score again, including a possession late that included two offensive rebounds.

Sabrina Ionescu gave New York a three-point lead with 15.8 seconds left and Karlie Samuelson was short on a long 3-pointer at the other end. Ionescu was fouled again and made two free throws to seal it with 0.2 left.

Ionescu finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for The Liberty. Breanna Stewart had just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Ariel Atkins led Washington with 20 points. Sykes had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Shakira Austin added 13 points. Aaliyah Edwards, the No. 6 pick in the WNBA draft out of UConn, scored six points in 14 minutes.

Julie Vanloo made a 3-pointer from near midcourt — her first career WNBA field goal — just before the third-quarter buzzer to extend Washington's lead to eight points.

The Mystics finished with 19 points off 20 New York turnovers.



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