Liberty take season opener against Mystics with comeback win

The New York Liberty earned an 85-80 win over the Washington Mystics in the 2024 season opener on Tuesday night.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

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

New York 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 two 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 New York. 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 while 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.