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Sabrina Ionescu, Jonquel Jones lift Liberty over Sparks

Sabrina Ionescu and Jonquel Jones combined for 53 points while leading the New York Liberty to a 93-80 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday.

Ionescu buried a season-best six 3-pointers to fuel her season-high total of 31 points for the Liberty (13-3). She also handed out a game-high nine assists.

Jones logged 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds before fouling out as New York won for the ninth time in the past 10 games.

Breanna Stewart added 17 points for the Liberty after starting the night 0-for-6 from the floor, and Ivana Dojkic scored a season-high 12.

The Sparks (4-12) dropped their fifth game in a row. Los Angeles’ Aari McDonald had 15 points, Zia Cooke scored 13 and Rae Burrell chipped in 11 for.

Ionescu sank a 3-pointer with 2:29 to play in the third quarter, stretching the Liberty’s lead to 66-54. Moments later, Jones knocked down a trey to put the hosts up by 15.

The visitors trailed 73-56 after three but got within 78-73 with 6:10 to play in the game on two free throws by Layshia Clarendon.

Stewart followed with a 3-pointer, and the lead never dipped below six points the rest of the way.

The Sparks were playing without star rookie Cameron Brink, who tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in a 79-70 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday. Brink was averaging 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game.

Still, Los Angeles came out ready to compete, especially Kia Nurse, who staked the Sparks to a 5-0 lead in the first two minutes on the strength of a jumper and a 3-pointer.

The Liberty soon got on track, tying the game at 14-14 on a 3-pointer from up top by Ionescu before taking their first lead at 16-14 on a jumper in the paint by Kayla Thornton.

New York led 19-17 at the end of the period, and the score remained close in the second quarter, which featured five ties and four lead changes.

The final lead change of the half belonged to the Liberty as Ionescu made a nice pass to Jones, who cut inside and sank a layup for a 35-33 lead with 2:42 remaining.

The Liberty were up 43-36 at the half.

–Field Level Media

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