Betnijah Laney scored a career-high 30 points and the Atlanta Dream beat NY 84-78 Friday night, in a game in which the Liberty lost top draft pick Sabrina Ionescu to an ankle injury in the second quarter. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling and bruising.
The injury happened during the second quarter when Ionescu appeared to roll her left ankle.
NY is short-handed at guard already with Kia Nurse sidelined with a sprained left ankle she suffered in the team's opener. Friday marked the third game of her rookie season, and she was coming off a 33-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist performance in Wednesday's loss to Dallas. Asia Durr, the No. 2 pick past year, is out for the season on a medical exemption after contracting the coronavirus.
Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said Ionescu was still being evaluated after the game and believed she was at a local hospital with general manager Jonathan Kolb accompanying her. "There's not a lot of ready-to-go options hanging around". "We're going to have to huddle up and see if we can get Kia right". Ionescu had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in her debut on Saturday, a loss to the Seattle Storm.
Laney's 3-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter gave Atlanta a 14-point - their biggest of the game - but NY (0-3) chipped away, trimming its deficit to 73-71 when Layshia Clarendon made a short jumper with 2:45 to play.