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Liberty smother Mystics to get first win

A stingy team effort on defense and Amanda Zahui B’s 14-point, 14-rebound double-double powered the New York Liberty to their first win of the 2020 season, 74-66 Friday over the Washington Mystics at the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Fla.

The Liberty (1-5) held the Mystics (3-3) to a season-low scoring output on 37.7-percent shooting from the floor and 25-percent shooting from behind the 3-point line.

New York led for much of the way on the strength of its defense and the complement of a balanced offense. Kia Nurse and Layshia Clarendon joined Zahui B. scoring in double-figures with 17 and 14 points, respectively. Leaonna Odom and Jocelyn Willoughby each contributed nine points.

Clarendon dished out a game-high six assists, made a pair of steals, and hit a 3-pointer with 2:55 to go in the third quarter that gave the Liberty an eight-point lead that hovered near that mark for the rest of the way.

Washington’s inability to get good looks at the hoop, and failing to convert on its open opportunities, prevented the Mystics from trimming the gap within five points for the rest of the way. New York led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter.

One game after it combined for nine points in a loss to Las Vegas, the Washington bench totaled just six points Friday — all from Kiara Leslie.

Aerial Powers led the Mystics with 20 points, rebounding from a six-point showing in Wednesday’s loss to Las Vegas. Powers also made four steals.

Emma Meesseman scored 17 points and Myisha Hines-Allen added 12 points and eight rebounds for Washington, which is playing without reigning Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne opted out of the restart due to COVID-19 concerns.

Friday marked New York’s third game without rookie sensation Sabrina Ionescu, who sustained an ankle injury July 31 against Atlanta. Ionescu — who scored 33 points with seven rebounds and seven assists in her last full game — left the bubble to begin her rehab.

–Field Level Media

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