Seeking 5-0 start, streaking Liberty host Sky

In their initial season in 1997, the New York Liberty won their first seven games and 10 years later they won their first five.

This version of the Liberty (4-0) is off to an unbeaten start with the hopes of another dominant regular season as New York attempts to extend its season-opening winning streak to five games Thursday night when it hosts the Chicago Sky.

New York has won 36 of its past 44 regular-season games since signing Breanna Stewart, who is off to a productive start by averaging 19.8 points in the first four games. She has shot 49 percent in the past three games as the Liberty won those contests by a combined 58 points.

The Liberty dominated a home-and-home set with Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever and then struggled at times in Monday’s 74-63 home victory over the Seattle Storm.

Sabrina Ionescu led New York with 20 points and eight assists while Stewart posted her second double-double so far with 16 and 11 rebounds. Those performances helped the Liberty withstand shooting a season-low 41.3 percent and missing 20 of 23 3-point tries after hitting 31 triples in their first three games.

“They were tired; we were tired, four games in seven days to start the season,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said after her team outscored Seattle 42-24 in the paint. “But sometimes on any given night, someone else can step up for us. And Sabrina was the one giving us that energy tonight, getting downhill, making some shots.”

Chicago (1-1) split its first two games under new coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who played 220 games for the Liberty from 1997 to 2003.

The Sky have been idle since Saturday when they bounced back from their season-opening 87-79 loss at Dallas with an 83-74 victory in the second part of a two-game series. Diamond DeShields led Chicago with 16 points, Marina Mabrey added 14 while Elizabeth Williams and Dana Evans finished with 12 apiece.

Chicago trailed by 12 at halftime but earned its first win by outscoring Dallas 28-11 in the fourth quarter when rookie Angel Reese contributed seven of her 11 points.

“I think everybody just came out with energy, did all the little things, blocks, steals, boxed out,” Reese said. “Everybody did what they needed to do to get the win.”

–Field Level Media