CHICAGO >> Sabrina Ionescu had 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Natasha Howard also scored 22 points and the seventh-seeded New York Liberty beat the defending champion Chicago Sky 98-91 tonight in the opening game of the WNBA playoffs.
New York scored the final 13 points of the fourth quarter as Chicago missed 10 of its last 11 shots.
Betnijah Laney added 17 points and Stefanie Dolson scored 13 points for New York, which set a franchise scoring record in the playoffs.
Kahleah Copper led the second-seeded Sky with 21 points. Allie Quigley scored 18 points, and Candace Parker had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Saturday in Chicago.
ACES 79, MERCURY 63
LAS VEGAS >> Kelsey Plum had 22 points, Chelsea Gray scored nine of her 17 points in the fourth quarter and top-seeded Las Vegas beat short-handed Phoenix.
Jackie Young added 16 points for Las Vegas
Diamond DeShields had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Mercury. No. 8 Phoenix was without stars Diana Taurasi (quad) and Skylar Diggins-Smith (personal reasons), and Shey Peddy was carried off the floor with 2:03 remaining in the third after a non-contact injury.
Game 2 is Saturday in Las Vegas.