Betnijah Laney’s double-double helps Liberty hold off Mercury

Betnijah Laney collected 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds to lift the visiting New York Liberty to an 85-83 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.

Laney scored 17 points in the first half to avenge her worst outing of the season in New York’s previous game. She had eight points on 4-of-12 shooting in New York’s 85-64 setback to the Connecticut Sun on June 5.

Jazmine Jones scored 16 points with seven rebounds off the bench for the Liberty (6-4), who rebounded after squandering a 17-point lead late in the second quarter to snap a three-game losing skid.

Sami Whitcomb had 14 points, Kylee Shook added 10 and Rebecca Allen had seven after being inserted into the starting lineup. Allen got the nod after Sabrina Ionescu sat out her first game of the season because of left ankle tendinitis.

Brittney Griner collected 29 points and 14 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season for the Mercury (5-6), who have lost three in a row overall and five of six at home. Skylar Diggins-Smith added 25 points, however she lost control of the ball with one second left in the fourth quarter.

Phoenix’s Kia Nurse struggled in her first game against her former team. She finished with nine points after making just 3 of 15 shots from the floor and missing all eight attempts from 3-point range.

Griner made a bucket in the paint as the Mercury scored 11 of the first 16 points in the fourth to secure a tie at 72 with 6:10 to play. Jones answered with a flourish, draining a pair of free throws, a long-range jumper and a driving layup to give the Liberty an 80-75 lead with 4:07 to play.

Nurse and Diggins-Smith each made floating jumpers to trim New York’s lead to one, however Jones sank a 3-pointer with 1:02 to play. Phoenix sandwiched four free throws around Laney’s basket, however Diggins-Smith was unable to cap the comeback.

New York held a 48-31 lead with 2:07 left in the second quarter before Phoenix began to chip away. The Mercury scored the final five points of the second and 15 of the first 18 in the third to forge a tie at 51, capped by Nurse’s driving layup for her first field goal of the game.

–Field Level Media

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