Ionescu lifts New York to 83-80 win over Chicago to end skid
NEW YORK (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu’s three-point play with 9.7 seconds left lifted New York 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 where she was fouled by Rebekah Gardner. Ionescu, who finished with 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, converted the free throw to give New York (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.”
Chicago (21-7) got the ball but Candace Parker missed a shot in the lane with just over 2 seconds left. After Michaela Onyenwere hit two free throws, the Sky had one last chance, but Emma Meesseman’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
The loss ended the Sky’s six-game winning streak.
“That’s the play we wanted,” Chicago 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-half 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 now has 3,327 rebounds in her career.
Chicago, which already has wrapped up a playoff berth, played Friday night at home before traveling to New York on Saturday morning. The Sky’s flight was delayed because of storms and got them in to New York around noon.
They trailed 69-59 early in the fourth quarter before the Sky 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. New York trailed 79-78 with 19 seconds left when Parker made the second of two free throws.
Ionescu then gave New York the lead for good.
The game also featured a matchup between Chinese players Han Xu of New York and Li Yueru of Chicago. The game was televised live in China. Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qín Gang was in attendance as well as WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and the head of NBA China Michael Ma.
Han finished with 12 points while Li didn’t score in four minutes of play.
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