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Liberty lose to Chicago Sky despite return of European players

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New York Liberty v Chicago Sky Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The Liberty, buoyed by the return of Amanda Zuhai B and Bria Hartley, went into Chicago Friday night hoping to recover from a blowout loss earlier in the week, but it didn’t work that way. The Sky defeated the Liberty easily, 99-83.

New York welcomed back several players from various absences. Amanda Zahui B. (Sweden) and Bria Hartley (France) were competing in EuroBasket, as was Marine Johannès (France). Johannes, a 5’10” shooting guard, made her WNBA debut Friday, having starred in the Euroleague.

Rebecca Allen, who had been sidelined since June with a hand injury, also made her return.

Curiously, rookie Asia Durr dressed but did not play for New York. The team did not immediately give a reason as to why, reports Swish Appeal, our WNBA sister site.

The loss was the Liberty’s second straight, getting bombed, 90-58, by the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday. The Liberty are now 7-9, still looking for the win that will top last season’s 7-27 record.

The game was close early but the Sky exploded in the second quarter and the Liberty never recovered. The Liberty scored the final six points of the first quarter and opened the second with an 8-0 run to take a 33-27 before Chicago took control, outscoring New York 28-2 over the final seven-plus minutes of the first half.

The Liberty made just one of their last 14 second-quarter shots and committed six turnovers during the Sky’s run. Gabby Williams made an alley-oop layup, off an inbound pass from Vandersloot, as time expired to make it 55-35 at the break.

Sky head coach James Wade was so comfortable with his team’s consistent double-digit lead that he gave the OK for Jamierra Faulkner to see her first action since injuring her knee in 2018.

The game did have positives for the Liberty. Marine Johannès scored 10 points and shot 4-of-7 in her debut including 2-of-4 from three. Allen played nearly 12 minutes and score six points in her first game since she hurt her hand a month ago.

Kia Nurse, in her first game since being named starting point guard in the WNBA All-Star Game later this month, finished with a team-high 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Before the game, Nurse thanked her fans for voting her into her first mid-season classic.

Courtney Vandersloot scored 17 points and tied her season high with 12 assists in the win. Jantel Lavender also scored 17 points for the Sky (8-8). Diamond DeShields added 16 points, Allie Quigley 14 and Stefanie Dolson had 13 points and nine rebounds.

New York continues its road trip Sunday with a game vs. the Seattle Storm. The game will be available to watch on League Pass.