Ionescu, Taurasi star in WNBA season opener

All about last-minute steals | Sabrina Ionescu helped Liberty beat Fever while Diana Taurasi lifted Phoenix past Minnesota.

Ionescu finished with 25 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in her Barclays Center debut.   -  AFP

Here are all the results from the opening fixture of WNBA 2021.

Sabrina Ionescu made a 3-pointer from the wing with 0.4 seconds left to give the New York Liberty a 90-87 victory over the Indiana Fever on Friday night in the WNBA’s season opener.

Ionescu finished with 25 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in her Barclays Center debut. The former Oregon star played only three games last season because of an ankle injury.

She scored the final eight points for New York, hitting a 3-pointer from the wing and then making two free throws with 21.8 seconds remaining to tie it at 87.

After a timeout, Indiana worked the clock down before Kelsey Mitchell was called for a traveling violation with 5.8 seconds left setting up Ionescu’s winner with her family watching in the arena.

Betnijah Laney scored 30 points to lead New York and rookie Michaela Onyenwere added 18.

Mitchell finished with 23 points and Teaira McCowan added 22 points and 16 rebounds for Indiana.

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Taurasi finished with 14 points including a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left on the clock.   -  AFP

 

MERCURY 77, LYNX 75

Diana Taurasi made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to lift Phoenix past Minnesota.

The 38-year-old Taurasi made just two of her first 12 field goals before hitting the winner in the opener for both teams.

The officials stopped play after Taurasi’s basket because the clock inadvertently stopped at 6.8 seconds when Minnesota turned it over. Following a lengthy delay, the Lynx inbounded it at half court but were not able to get off a shot before the buzzer.

Skylar Diggins-Smith led Phoenix with 18 points. Brittney Griner had 17 points and 12 rebounds for her 42nd career double-double, tying former Mercury star DeWanna Bonner for the most in franchise history.

Brianna Turner added 13 points and 10 rebounds, Taurasi finished with 14 points and Kia Nurse, in her first game with Phoenix, had 10.

Aerial Powers, in her first game with Minnesota, scored 18 points.

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SUN 78, DREAM 67

Jonquel Jones had 26 points and eight rebounds, DeWanna Bonner added 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Connecticut beat Atlanta to spoil the Dream’s inaugural game at the Gateway Center.

Jones, playing in her first game for Connecticut in 582 days after opting out last season, scored all 16 of her first-half points in the first quarter to help the Sun build a 22-17 advantage. Connecticut led 43-33 at the break.

Natisha Hiedeman added nine points for Connecticut, which will be without star Alyssa Thomas all season after she injured an Achilles tendon playing overseas.

Odyssey Sims and Courtney Williams each scored 14 points for Atlanta.

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WINGS 84, SPARKS 71

Allisha Gray scored 23 points, No. 1 overall pick Charli Collier had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Dallas beat Los Angeles for coach Vickie Johnson’s first victory with the Wings.

Collier, a rookie from Texas, was 4 of 6 from the field in her debut and fellow top-five pick Chelsea Dungee played the final two minutes for the Wings. Awak Kuier, the No. 2 selection in Dallas’ busy draft, did not play. Arike Ogunbowale added 17 points.

 

Nneka Ogwumike scored 18 points and Chiney Ogwumike added 12 for the Sparks.

Los Angeles did not have Candace Parker, a former league MVP, on its roster for the first time since 2007. Parker headed home to Chicago in the offseason after playing her entire 13-year career in Los Angeles.

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