Breanna Stewart passes Diana Taurasi as fastest WNBA player to 5K points; Liberty rally to extend best start in team history

Breanna Stewart set a new WNBA scoring standard Sunday while rallying the New York Liberty past the Atlanta Dream to extend the best start in franchise history.

Stewart tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals in New York's 81-75 victory. In the second quarter, she scored her 5,000th career point, becoming the fastest player in WNBA history to do so.

She reached the threshold in her 242nd game, edging previous record-holder and all-time WNBA leading scorer Diana Taurasi, who posted her 5,000th point in her 243rd game. She also moved into 25th place on the all-time scoring list in her eighth WNBA season.

Stewart and the WNBA-best (16-3) Liberty got off to a slow start at home against the Dream (7-10). Atlanta opened a 24-10 advantage and finished the first quarter leading 24-13. Stewart scored New York's second bucket of the game then missed six consecutive shots as Atlanta seized early control.

With 8:10 remaining in the second quarter, Stewart hit a floater on an assist from Sabrina Ionescu. That bucket secured her 5,001st career point and cut the Dream lead to 28-15. Atlanta extended its edge to 31-15 on an Alisha Gray 3-pointer, but New York began to chip away from there.

Stewart scored nine points in the second quarter as New York cut the Atlanta lead to 41-36 at halftime. A 17-2 New York run that straddled the second and third quarters gave the Liberty a 44-43 lead with 7:00 remaining in the third. Back-to-back 3s by Stewart extended that lead to 52-45 late in the third.

Atlanta cut the New York advantage to 60-59 at the end of the quarter, but never took the lead again. The Liberty finished the game on a 21-16 run to extend the best start in franchise history with the league's best record.

Four Liberty players scored in double figures. Betnijah Laney-Hamilton posted 18 points, six assists and five rebounds while hitting 4-of-6 3-pointers. New York overcame a poor shooting day by Ionescu (3 of 17, 2 of 11 from 3, 10 points) to secure the win. Gray led Atlanta with 24 points in the losing effort.

WNBA Finalists last season, the Liberty now have a 1.5-game lead over the 14-4 Connecticut Sun atop the Eastern Conference.