Cunningham's Mercury beat Liberty 96-67

Then-Missouri standout Sophie Cunningham speaks to the media in March 2019 at the Carver Hawkeye Arena during the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Cunningham, who now plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, finished the team’s Sunday win against the New York Liberty Sunday with a plus-minus of 29.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Bria Hartley scored a career-high 27 points and the Phoenix Mercury beat the New York Liberty 96-67 on Sunday.

Hartley, who signed with the Mercury as a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Liberty, was 10 of 18 shooting. Diana Taurasi had 18 points, nine assists, three steals and two blocks and Brittney Griner added 16 points for Phoenix (2-2).

Former Missouri star Sophie Cunningham started for the Mercury but scored just two points on one field-goal attempt in 21 minutes. She had a plus-minus of 29, though, which was tied for the highest on the team with Taurasi.

New York point guard Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, did not play due to an ankle injury suffered in Friday’s loss to the Atlanta Dream and is expected to miss a month.

Kia Nurse, who missed Friday’s game due to an ankle injury of her own, led the Liberty with 16 points but made just 3 of 17 from the field. Layshia Clarendon added 12 points and Amanda Zahui B. scored 11.

Phoenix, which never trailed, led by as many as 16 in the first half and took a 41-27 lead into halftime. The Liberty used an 18-3 run to trim their deficit to 55-53 when Zahui B. hit a 3-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter, but the Mercury scored 17 of the next 19 points to pull away for good.

New York, which is 0-4 for the second consecutive season, shot just 24.7% (18 of 73) from the field, including 5 of 35 (14.3%) from 3-point range.

Former Missouri star Sophie Cunningham started for the Mercury but scored just two points on one field-goal attempt in 21 minutes. She had a plus-minus of 29, though, which was tied for the highest on the team with Diana Taurasi.

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