Breanna Stewart rebounded from one of the worst games of her career with a stellar effort, scoring 28 points with 14 rebounds and seven assists to lead the New York Liberty to an 89-71 victory over the Phoenix Mercury, who were playing without the injured Brittney. Griner on Sunday.

«I wanted to make an assertive effort to be aggressive,» Stewart said. «Especially early in the game and I hope everyone follows that. Sometimes the ball doesn’t land in the basket and that’s what happened last game. Law of averages, things even out a bit.»

Griner missed his second straight game with a hip injury suffered against Seattle on Tuesday. The All-Star center received a warm standing ovation from the crowd when video played of her in the first timeout.

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New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart prepares to pass during the first quarter of a WNBA basketball game against the Phoenix Mercury, Sunday, June 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Baby Matthews)

With Griner potentially playing in her first game in New York since returning to the US after being detained for 10 months in Russia last year, Liberty drew a crowd of 9,278.

Phoenix (2-8) also lost Diana Taurasi to a hamstring injury.

New York had its own injury woes, as Sabrina Ionescu missed her second straight game with a hamstring injury. Even without Ionescu, Liberty (7-3) had more than enough to handle Mercury.

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Brittney Griner with Diana Taurasi sitting on a bench

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, center, and teammate Diana Taurasi, left, watch from the bench during the first quarter of a WNBA basketball game against the New York Liberty, Sunday, June 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Baby Matthews)

Stewart, who made just one of 14 field goal attempts Tuesday in New York’s loss to Atlanta, was aggressive from the start. She hit a series of shots from inside and outside. She finished the first half with 23 points as New York built a 53-34 lead over Phoenix.

Phoenix cut a 19-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to 72-64 with 6:01 remaining when Sophie Cunningham scored nine points during an 11-0 run.

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Moriah Jefferson fires shot

Phoenix Mercury guard Moriah Jefferson shoots during the first quarter of a WNBA basketball game against the New York Liberty, Sunday, June 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Baby Matthews)

Stewart ended New York’s drought with a free throw and then Betnijah Laney made a jumper to restore the double-digit lead. Phoenix never threatened the rest of the way.

«Our players just don’t give up,» Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said. «They had a lot of pride. They’re really talented basketball players and no matter who’s available to us, we’re going to fight.»

Cunningham finished with 27 points to lead the Mercury.