All season long, and even since the offseason, the New York Liberty have been decried as the team most likely to pose a threat to the Las Vegas Aces repeating as WNBA champions. The WNBA playoffs got underway this week and Liberty opened up their first round playoff series at home against the Washington Mystics on Friday. There was a little bit of history going back to the final game of the regular season when the Mystics beat the Liberty on their home floor. After the Mystics won on a Brittney Sykes game-winner, Natasha Cloud waved bye to the crowd. After the Liberty took Game 1 on Friday, Sabrina Ionescu revealed that was a key motivator for them as per Sabreena Merchant of The Athletic.

Sabrina Ionescu has been having a phenomenal season for the Liberty and that carried over into Game 1 of the WNBA Playoffs. She used a second-half surge to power the Liberty past the Mystics to take a 1-0 lead in the best of three series. After finishing the first half shooting 1-4 from three-point range, she shot 6-9 from behind the arc as the Mystics could not withstand the onslaught. She had a game-high 29 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal.

On the season, Ionescu had been averaging 17.0 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.0 steals with splits of 42.3 percent shooting from the field, 44.8 percent shooting from the three-point line and 87.2 percent shooting from the free-throw line.

Ionescu was named to her second consecutive All-Star team and she was the winner of the 3PT-Contest while setting a record for most shots made in either the WNBA and NBA.