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Liberty Outlast Mercury Second Half Push to Snap Losing Streak

Updated: Jun 3

Liberty Move to 5-2 after defeating the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday Night

By: Gabe Zoda (@SSN_Liberty/@GabeZoda on X)

Picture of Courtney Vandersloot (Right), Sabrina Ionescu (Middle) and Breanna Stewart (Left). Brandon Todd/New York Liberty.

BROOKLYN - The New York Liberty entered Wednesday on a three-day rest after losing back-to-back games for the first time in seemingly forever. Sabrina Ionescu and Jonquel Jones powered this Liberty squad to avoid a rare losing streak.

Sabrina Ionescu scored 22 points, dished out nine assists, and collected six rebounds in the win, and Jonquel Jones added 21 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. 10 of those points for Jones came in the fourth quarter, which she attributed to a switch in mindset.

"We had a different level of intention with me getting down there [in the paint], them giving me time to just post up and really seal,"  Jones said. "Ultimately, it was just a mindset shift from both me and my teammates," said Jones.

Jonquel Jones (Center) shooting and making a Layup. Brandon Todd/New York Liberty

This game wasn't without controversy, though. Late in the fourth quarter, technicals were given to Kayla Thornton and Sug Sutton after some pushing and shoving on a jump ball, which Ionescu called "madness.".

"It was just understanding where we wanted KT [Kayla Thornton] to be. Players kept moving after the ball was about to be jumped," Ionescu said. "KT wanted one spot, and the defender (Sutton) wanted another spot, so it was an understanding of who gets that spot first... I don't think it was that big of a deal; I think it turned into something bigger than it was," said Ionescu.

The crowd got fired up after the scuffle and got louder than at almost any point this season. This provided a good push to allow the team to power through the final moments of the game.

"It got the crowd going; it got everyone into the game, and playing at home with the crowd is an extra benefit and boost to us," said Jonquel Jones. "I think it was really good for us.".

Scuffle with 6:06 in the 4th quarter. Brandon Todd/New York Liberty

This matchup had many ups and downs, starting in the first quarter when the Liberty were scorching hot from behind the Arc. They made six of their nine threes in the quarter and held a 33-20 advantage.

In the second and third quarters, the offense then struggled, allowing the Mercury to win those quarters 39-27.

"We had some bad patches; our shot profile at one stage was just 'we're going to shoot three's'; we needed to get downhill a little bit more", said Head Coach Sandy Brondello about those quarters.

Sabrina Ionescu (Left) and Head Coach Sandy Brondello (right) High-Fiving in win over Phoenix Mercury. Brandon Todd/New York Liberty

The thing that kept this team alive in the fourth quarter? Focus.

During the last couple of games, Brondello talked about a lack of focus at times, and before last night's game, she mentioned staying consistent in their focus, and they were successful last night.

"I thought it [the focus] was great. Don't get too high or too low; what can we control at that moment?" Brondello said. "We stayed poised, composed, and together, and if you can do those good things, usually good results happen, and we managed to grind out a really good win for us.".

The New York Liberty (5-2) will return to action tomorrow, May 31st, at home when they take on the Washington Mystics (0-7) at 7:30 p.m. EST. Make sure to catch all of our live coverage from the Barclays Center on X @SSN_Liberty.

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