Storm guard Sue Bird acknowledges fans during the second half against...

Storm guard Sue Bird acknowledges fans during the second half against the Liberty at Barclays Center on Sunday. Credit: Noah K. Murray

Results matter. Except for when they don’t.

On Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center, the result was secondary. That’s because Sue Bird came home.

“When anyone thinks about the WNBA, they think about Sue Bird and what she’s meant to the sport. She’s transcended it,” Sabrina Ionescu said after the Liberty’s 81-72 loss in what likely was the Syosset native’s last game in New York.

Bird announced Thursday that she will retire at the end of the 2022 WNBA season.

“What she’s meant to absolutely everyone outside of the sport is something that you really cannot put into words,” Ionescu said. “So [it was] really cool to see how many people were here tonight in support of her — her career — and what she’s done.”

It was fitting that Bird, who starred at Christ The King High School in Middle Village, Queens, before authoring a legendary career with UConn and becoming the first overall pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft, made the biggest play of the game by drilling a straightaway three-pointer with 20.6 seconds left to put the game away.

After taking the shot, Bird held her follow-through as the ball bounced around the rim for what seemed like an eternity before nestling through the net.

“It was bouncing around and I knew it needed it,” said Bird, who had 11 points, four assists and three rebounds.

After the three-pointer, Liberty coach Sandy Brondello called timeout, which allowed Storm coach Noelle Quinn to replace Bird with Briann January. When the substitution was announced, the 6,859 in attendance gave Bird a third standing ovation.

The first occurred before the game when the Liberty aired a tribute video and presented her a custom-made jacket and jersey, both of which had the logos of the New York City and Long Island professional sports teams. The second standing ovation occurred after she was introduced with the Storm’s starters.

“I couldn’t have written this any better,” Bird said. “It’s been a really fun day.”

Among many in a career that someday will culminate with an induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bird, 41, won two NCAA championships at UConn and was named The Associated Press Player of the Year in 2001-02. She’s won four WNBA titles with the Storm and has been a part of five gold medal-winning United States teams.

A 12-time All-Star, Bird is the WNBA’s all-time leader in games played (560), minutes played (17,559) and assists (3,118). She was named to the All-WNBA first team five times in her career and made the All-WNBA second team three times.

“I think she’s played the game the right way,” Brondello said of her teammate on the 2003 iteration of the Storm. “She does whatever she needs to do to make the team win. She’s a leader. She’s a nurturer. You know, she’s like a coach on the court, to be quite honest. She makes the big play after big plays. She [sees] things happen before they actually happen, and that’s the talent of a really good guard — point guard in particular — and the dimes that she makes. But she’s also a scorer as well.

“I have great memories, have a lot of respect for her, and it’s great that she can go out on — she’s calling the shots, basically.”

The Liberty fell to 6-10 and the Storm improved to 10-6.

Marine Johannes scored a career-high 23 points for the Liberty and Ionescu added 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Gabby Williams scored 23 points for the Storm. Breanna Stewart finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and Jewell Loyd chipped in with 11 points.

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