Breanna Stewart [600x400]
Breanna Stewart [600x400] (Credit: Photo by Mike Lawrence/NBAE via Getty Images)

Greatness Mahomes Morant Maxey applaud LeBron for clutch fourth quarter

Breanna Stewart had 33 points, 7 assists and 6 blocks to help the New York Liberty beat the Los Angeles Sparks 98-88 on Saturday.

Sabrina Ionescu added 24 points and Kayla Thornton had 20 for New York (14-3), which has won 10 of its past 11 games, including the first meeting between the teams on Thursday.

Stewart made sure they swept the two games. She had an incredible first half on both ends of the floor Saturday, scoring 24 points to go along with five assists and five blocks. She became the first player in WNBA history to have over 20 points, 5 assists and 5 blocks in a half.

Stewart, who also had three steals, made eight of her 10 shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

New York trailed 31-23 early in the second quarter before the reigning MVP took over. Stewart scored 19 points in the frame -- matching the Sparks for total points -- on 5-of-6 shooting to go along with three blocks. 

With Stewart scoring or assisting on 29 of New York's 33 points in the second quarter, the Liberty built a 54-44 lead at the half.

"We were letting them off the hook a little bit," Stewart said. "Make sure I demanded the ball in the post."

 

As the Liberty put the game away in the third quarter with a 20-point lead, Stewart had a chase-down block on Stephanie Talbot that drew the crowd to its feet. Stewart matched a career high with the block.

"Just not giving up on the play. Whatever happened on the offensive end, we want to make every basket difficult for them," Stewart said.

Dearica Hamby scored 20 points to lead Los Angeles (4-13).

New York was still missing guard Courtney Vandersloot, who has been out seven games to be with her mother, who died last weekend. Vandersloot returned to the team Saturday and was warming up before the game.

"It's been a tough time for her and her family," Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. "She's back in town, but we're just ramping her up a little bit."

The Liberty were also without Nyara Sabally (back) and Betnijah Laney-Hamilton (knee).

Los Angeles has its own injury issues with Cameron Brink out for the season with a torn ACL in her left knee and Azura Stevens still sidelined after having surgery on her left arm. Lexie Brown was also out with an illness, and the Sparks signed Queen Egbo to a hardship contract.

Egbo arrived in New York late Friday night and without any prep time to make her a custom jersey. She wore No. 44 with white tape over the jersey name.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.