NEW YORK — Sabrina Ionescu’s three-point play with 9.7 seconds left lifted the New York Liberty to an 83-80 win over the Chicago Sky on Saturday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Trailing 80-78 with 19 seconds left, Ionescu took the ball and drove the lane and was fouled by Rebekah Gardner. Ionescu, who finished with 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, converted the free throw to give the Liberty (10-17) the lead.
“That’s a big win for us to snap a five-game losing streak,” Ionescu said. “Sometimes seeing a win is all you need to get a spark and win a game. We have a lot more games left. We’ll continue to get better and not stress about what seed we are.”
The Sky (21-7) got the ball but Candace Parker missed a shot in the lane with just more than two seconds left. After Michaela Onyenwere hit two free throws, the Sky had one last chance, but Emma Meesseman’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
The loss ended the Sky’s six-game winning streak.
“That’s the play we wanted,” Sky coach James Wade said of Parker’s shot. “Nine times out of 10 she makes it.”
Parker finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Sky, who were playing the second of a back-to-back. The veteran moved into fourth place on the league’s all-time rebounding list, breaking a tie with Tamika Catchings. Parker has 3,327 rebounds.
The Sky, who already wrapped up a playoff berth, beat the Dallas Wings at home Friday night before traveling to New York on Saturday morning. The Sky’s flight was delayed because of storms and they arrived in New York around noon.
The Sky trailed 69-59 early in the fourth quarter before they went on a 13-2 run to take a 72-71 lead on Parker’s putback with 3:11 left.
The teams traded the lead over the next two minutes. The Liberty trailed 79-78 with 19 seconds left when Parker made the second of two free throws.
Ionescu then gave the Liberty the lead for good.