Liberty top Wings as Breanna Stewart makes history

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Breanna Stewart poured in 40 points to break Diana Taurasi’s single-season scoring record as the New York Liberty snuck past the Dallas Wings 94-93 on Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.

Stewart shot 14-of-25 from the field and eclipsed Taurasi’s record of 860 points — which Taurasi set for the Phoenix Mercury in 2006 — on a free throw that drew the Liberty within 51-50 with 10 seconds remaining in the first half. The five-time All-Star also extended her own WNBA record with her fourth 40-point effort this season.

Betnijah Laney added 22 points while Courtney Vandersloot pitched in 16 points and 10 assists for New York (31-7), which has won seven straight and trails the Las Vegas Aces (32-6) by one game for the top seed in the WNBA playoffs.

Satou Sabally led the Wings (20-18) with 27 points but missed a potential game-winning runner from just beyond the free throw line with three seconds left.

Both teams sprawled out on the floor for the loose rebound, which Stewart scooped up as the buzzer sounded to close a frantic fourth quarter that featured eight ties and six lead changes.

Arike Ogunbowale supplied 19 points for Dallas, which also got 14 points and 10 boards from Natasha Howard and 12 points from Crystal Dangerfield. Teaira McCowan tallied 11 points and 12 boards off the bench.

Laney opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer that gave the Liberty their largest lead at 79-71. The Wings pulled even less than two minutes later on Ogunbowale’s layup that capped an 8-0 run with 7:55 to go. The teams jousted for the lead until Stewart’s free throw with 42.3 seconds remaining put New York ahead for good.

Dallas has lost four of its last six and has yet to clinch home-court advantage in the first round. The Wings currently lead the Minnesota Lynx (19-19) by one game for the fourth seed.

With the teams trading the lead throughout much of the third quarter, Stewart herself outscored Dallas 10-2 in the final 2:14 of the period to give the Liberty a 76-71 cushion entering the fourth.

New York drew even at 51-51 with 10 seconds left in the first half on Stewart’s three free throws.

Jonquel Jones took advantage of a quick Wings turnover and found Kayla Thornton wide open in the paint for a layup just ahead of the halftime buzzer to put the Liberty ahead 53-51 at the break.