Liberty hand Sun first loss of WNBA season, powered by Sabrina Ionescu's 24 points

Connecticut was the seventh WNBA team to start 9–0

The WNBA's lone undefeated team is no more.

The Connecticut Sun took their first defeat of the 2024 season, losing to the New York Liberty, 82–75, on Saturday.

Connecticut was the seventh team in league history to run out to a 9–0 start. The previous six teams to win their first nine games eventually advanced to the WNBA Finals, which bodes well for head coach Stephanie White's squad. The 2016 Minnesota Lynx had the WNBA's best start, beginning their season 13–0.

The Liberty won their sixth consecutive game and improved their record to 10–2, tying the franchise's best start after 12 games.

Sabrina Ionescu led New York with 24 points, scoring 12 in the first half. Jonquel Jones added 22 with eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Breanna Stewart finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Betnijah Laney-Hamilton had 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.

With her two 3-pointers, Ionescu became the third Liberty player to reach 300 made in her career and the fastest to reach that figure in WNBA history at 117 games.

"We understood this was a huge game for us, a statement game, they're undefeated," Ionescu told ESPN's Alexa Phillippou. "And so we came in here, regardless of how ugly the game was looking, how sloppy it was at times, and we just stay poised and played our style of basketball."

The Liberty looked like they were ready to blow out the Sun, running out to a 28–18 first-quarter lead fueled by Ionescu's 10 points (shooting 2-for-2 on 3-pointers). Connecticut stormed back in the second, however, outscoring New York by 10 to tie the score 39–39 at halftime. DeWanna Bonner scored seven points in the quarter, giving her 12 to match Ionescu for the game-high at the half.

After that second-quarter rally, the Sun took control in the third, paced by Brionna Jones and Tyasha Harris, who each scored five points. Connecticut held a 60–57 lead. But in the fourth, Jonquel Jones asserted herself for New York, scoring four points and grabbing several key rebounds. The Liberty outscored the Sun in that fourth quarter, 25–15.

Bonner led the Sun with 16 points and eight rebounds, followed by Brionna Jones' 13, and DiJonai Carrington and Tiffany Mitchell each scoring 12. Alyssa Thomas contributed 10 points with 12 rebounds and seven assists.

"Nobody likes to lose, we’re competitors," Carrington said to MassLive's Kenneth Manoj. "It’s a 40-game season – we didn’t think we were going to go 40–0. Not saying that we think teams are better than us, but this is a tough league to win in every single night."

New York was without Courtney Vandersloot, who was ruled out for personal reasons. The 14-year veteran also missed Thursday's matchup with the Atlanta Dream.

The Liberty play the second part of a back-to-back on Sunday, returning to New York to face the winless Washington Mystics. The Sun host Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever on Monday.