Associated Press Jul 23 2023 5:35pm ET2 Minute Read
NEW YORK — Betnijah Laney scored a season-high 22 points, Jonquel Jones added 18 points and the New York Liberty made a record-breaking start, defeating the Indiana Fever 101-83 on Sunday.
New York (16-5) scored its first nine shots en route to a 44-point first-quarter score. That’s the most points ever scored in a period in WNBA history, beating the 42 Chicago scored against the Liberty in 2019.
“Any time we can move the ball from side to side and get everyone involved, teams have to play us honestly and we’ve all got an opportunity to do what we have to do,” Jones said.
The Liberty made 15 of 18 throws from the field in the first game, including six three-pointers, and went up 27 points after the first 10 minutes.
New York cooled off a bit in the second half, leading 68-46 at halftime – just under the league mark for points in a half.
“If this was a three-quarter game, we’d win by nine,” said excited Indiana coach Christie Sides. “You have to show me every night that you’re ready to play. Forty-four points is ridiculous.”
These two teams met just before the All-Star break, and Indiana rebounded from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter, leveling the game after a three-point throw from Aliyah Boston. The Liberty pulled away in overtime.
There was no such comeback this time, as New York finished the game with a 54% shot rate from the field, hitting 17 of 34 three-pointers (50%).
“The first quarter is tough, let someone take 44 points, it’s hard to come back from that,” said Victoria Vivians, who led Indiana by 16 points.
The easy win allowed coach Sandy Brondello to give her starting group some rest. With five games in eight days, four of which will be played at home, New York is facing a difficult period in its schedule.
While Indiana (6-16) didn’t really play in Sunday’s game after the first quarter, the Fever were already more successful than last season when they won five games total.
The Fever saw the return of Lexie Hull, who missed the previous two games after breaking her nose. She wore a see-through mask, which she said ahead of the game she will have to wear for the rest of the season. Hull closed the game on seven points before suffering a foul in the fourth quarter.