WNBA tip-off: Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu opens 25th anniversary season with winning shot

The 25th season in WNBA history tipped off on Friday night with one of its largest young stars leading the way  headlined the opening game with the one of the league’s founding teams, making their home debut at a sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Ionescu hit the winning 3-pointer and closed in on a triple-double in a thrilling start to the 2021 campaign. It’s only her fourth career WNBA game. Friday had four games on the slate with in the Commissioner’s Cup

Ionescu lifted the Liberty to a thrilling 90-87 win in the season opener, and her first in the WNBA after she was injured in her third career professional game. There were 11 ties between the last two teams in the 2020 league standings until the 2020 No. 1 draft pick called game.

It was the ice-cold Ionescu everyone came to know in her time at Oregon, and she lit up in the final minutes. Her 3-pointer with 39.7 seconds on the clock brought it within one and her free throws tied it, 87-87, with 21.8 seconds remaining after a Fever free throw.

The Fever stuffed the Liberty in the paint, which they had done all game, but with the last shot in their hands, Kelsey Mitchell was called for traveling. It set up Ionescu’s heroics.