It was a solid night for the WNBA. Former Oregon Duck Sabrina Ionescu did her best to keep her team in the game against the Washington Mystics. Ionescu led New York in scoring with what could be called the start of a dynasty team behind her.
Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot were added in the offseason giving the Liberty two key pieces outside of the WNBA Draft. Jonquel Jones is another addition and both Jones and Vandersloot were limited in training camp leading up to the opener and both practiced together for the first time this week, which tells me that team chemistry this early is not nearly as good as it will be moving forward.
For Ionescu, who recently signed a two-year extension, did her best when she was on the floor leading the team with 18 points hitting 7 of 20 from the floor. Three-point shooting came up short. As a team the Liberty were just 7 of 31 from the floor. Ionescu had an uncharacteristic night from distance hitting just 2 of 9 from three-point range in the 80-64 loss.
Washington started out the season strong with four players in double figures and hitting 45 percent of their shots from the floor in the victory. One dubious statistic for New York. In WNBA history, no team that lost their opener by 16 points have gone on to win the WNBA Championship the same season. I somehow believe that this team will be quick to turn things around.
This New York team has too many players that care, as well as leaders in nearly every position. New York is still the team to beat despite the early season stumble. The Liberty will have their home opener against Indiana on Sunday, May 21st before hosting Connecticut next week and then a road trip to Seattle.
At the end of the loss on Friday night, Vandersloot said the team is not in panic mode by any means.