July 23, 2023, 5:35 p.m. ET
NEW YORK — Betnijah Laney scored a season high with 22 points, Jonquel Jones added 18 and New York Liberty made a strong start to beat the Indiana Fever 101-83 on Sunday.
New York (16-5) made its first nine shots heading into the first quarter with 44 points. It was the most points scored in a single period in WNBA history, surpassing the 42 points Chicago scored against Liberty in 2019.
“Anytime we can move the ball from side to side and get everyone involved it causes the team to play us fair and gives us all the space to do what we have to do,” said Jones.
Liberty made 15 of 18 from the field in the first, including six 3-pointers, to move up 27 points after the opening 10 minutes.
New York cooled off a bit in the second half and led 68-46 at halftime – barely short of league figures for points in the first half.
“If it’s a three-quarter game, we win by nine,” said a nervous Indiana coach Christie Sides. “You have to show me you are ready to play every night. Forty-four points is ridiculous.”
These two teams met just before the All-Star break, and Indiana came back from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter, leveling the game at the buzzer with a 3-pointer by Aliyah Boston. Liberty pulled out in overtime.
There was no comeback this time as New York finished the game shooting 54% from the field and hitting 17 of 34 3s (50%).
“The first quarter was tough, let someone score 44 points, it’s hard to come back from that,” said Victoria Vivians, who led Indiana with 16 points.
The easy win allowed coach Sandy Brondello to rest for his starting group. New York enters a difficult schedule with five games in eight days, although four of them are at home.
While Indiana (6-16) never appeared in a Sunday game after the opening quarter, the Fever have had more success than last season, when they won a total of five games.
Fever saw the return of Lexie Hull, who had missed the previous two games after breaking her nose. He was wearing a clear mask that he said before the game he would have to wear for the rest of the season. Hull finished with seven points before fouling in the fourth quarter.