The New York Liberty stole Game 1 of their first-round series against the defending champion Chicago Sky, 98-91. The seven-point win was the Liberty’s first playoff win since 2015.
LIBERTY TAKE GAME 1!!!!!— WSLAM (@wslam) August 18, 2022
New York was led by Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard, who scored a game-high 22 points apiece. Ionescu contributed seven rebounds and six assists, while Howard followed up with seven rebounds, three assists, and one steal.
“We’ve really just stayed committed to the process,” Ionescu said when asked about the Liberty’s first playoff win in seven years. “It’s important that we won a game for this organization, for New York, but there’s a lot of games left in us, so we’re gonna have to do it again.
The Sky were led in scoring by Kahleah Copper (21 points and eight rebounds), Candace Parker (17 points and 10 rebounds), Allie Quigley (18 points and five dimes), and Courtney Vandersloot (13 points and 10 boards).
The Liberty used a 13-0 run over the final 3:20 and forced Chicago to miss 10 of their last 11 shots of the game to secure the win. While Ionescu’s five points highlighted the definitive run, Marine Johannes’ over-the-shoulder dime to Howard was the play of the game.
“I was just being ready at all times,” Howard said about the tough dime she got from Johannes. “Because I didn’t know if she would pass me the ball. It kinda reminded me of a Sue Bird pass.”
Natasha Howard on this immediately iconic Marine Johannès pass: “I was just being ready at all times, because I didn’t know if she would pass me the ball. It kinda reminded me of a Sue Bird pass.” pic.twitter.com/sYzLi1TZJf— Myles (@MylesEhrlich) August 18, 2022
The Sky will look to even the series up when they host New York for Saturday’s Game 2.