New-look Liberty locked down by Mystics in 80-64 loss to open 2023 WNBA season
WASHINGTON (AP) — Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins each scored 14 points and the Washington Mystics beat the new-look New York Liberty 80-64 on Friday night to give longtime assistant Eric Thibault a win in his coaching debut.
Elena Delle Donne added 13 points and Kristi Toliver scored 10 in her return to Washington after spending two seasons in Los Angeles.
New York, which was labeled a super team during the offseason, shot just 34% from the field and turned it over 20 times in the season opener for both teams.
Cloud blocked Sabrina Ionescu’s shot at the halftime buzzer to keep Washington’s lead at 39-26. The Liberty started the game making just 5 of 23 shots and finished the half shooting 27%.
Cloud sank a jumper from the free throw line to extend Washington’s lead to 56-37 with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
Ionescu led New York with 18 points. Breanna Stewart had 12 points and 12 rebounds despite picking up her fourth foul with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
New York has high expectations this season after adding former MVPs Jonquel Jones through a trade and Stewart as a free agent. The Liberty also signed All-Star point guard Courtney Vandersloot.
Jones scored five points in 19 minutes and Vandersloot had eight points and six assists.