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Liberty Improve to 5-1, Behind Laney’s 26-PT Performance

NEW YORK (AP) — Betnijah Laney scored 26 points and Natasha Howard added 17 to help the New York Liberty beat the Dallas Wings 88-81 on Monday night.

New York (5-1) is off to its best start since 2007.

Sabrina Ionescu added 15 points and nine rebounds for New York, which made 10 3-pointers and 22 of 27 free throws. Howard played just 22 minutes before leaving with an injury.

“We don’t know anything right now,” New York coach Walt Hopkins said. “We’ll get some tests done tomorrow. We have our fingers crossed.”

It was tied at 39 at halftime until New York started the third on a 10-2 run. Dallas’ second field goal of the third quarter didn’t come until the 2:14 mark.

Sami Whitcomb’s 3-pointer early in the fourth extended New York’s lead to 66-52, but Dallas pulled within 73-71 with 3:53 left. Ionescu scored New York’s next eight points for an eight-point lead.

Arike Ogunbowale struggled from the floor, shooting 6 for 20, but made 9 of 10 free throws to finish with 24 points to lead Dallas (1-2). Marina Mabrey had 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Kayla Thornton had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Isabelle Harrison scored 11.

Mabrey scored 10 of Dallas’ 22 first-quarter points, and she finished the half with 16 after making 6 of 8 shots. Dallas led by eight points with 2:28 left before halftime until New York closed on an 8-0 run with 3-pointers by Howard and Whitcomb. Laney led the Liberty with 12 points at the half and Howard added 10.