Ionescu, Howard lead Liberty past Mystics, 74-70

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu made 5 of 10 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, Natasha Howard added 17 points and the New York Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 74-70 on Friday night.

New York (3-7) hit 11 3-pointers, made 17 of 18 free throws and committed a season-low 12 turnovers. The Liberty have won back-to-back games following a seven-game losing streak.

Howard, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, finished with seven rebounds and three steals — the last of which came when she stole a pass from Natasha Cloud, was fouled and hit 1 of 2 from the foul line to make it 72-70 with 24.6 second to go.

Rebecca Allen added 11 points — seven in the final 2-plus minutes — and Sami Whitcomb was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with nine points.

Cloud scored nine points in a 13-5 spurt that gave Washington (7-4) a one-point lead with three minutes to play and her pull-up jumper with 1:29 to play stretched the advantage to 68-65. Out a of timeout, Rebecca Allen tied it with a 3-pointer before Cloud set up a layup by Myisha Hines-Allen to give the Mystics a 70-68 lead with 1:11 remaining but Howard finished a layup through contact and made a free throw to give the Liberty the lead for good with 56.1 seconds to go.

Cloud led Washington with 17 points and eight assists — her 13th consecutive game with at least five assists, a franchise record. Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne each added 15 points.

New York’s Betnijah Laney, a 2021 All-Star. underwent surgery Wednesday to repair meniscus damage in her right knee and is slated to miss approximately eight weeks.

Washington Wizards players Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were in attendance.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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