WATCH: Kayla Thornton loses cool as tempers flare in during Liberty vs Mercury

Kayla Thornton and Sug Sutton get into it during the Liberty vs Mercury game (Photos from each player
Kayla Thornton and Sug Sutton get into it during the Liberty vs Mercury game (Photos from each player's IG and Khristina Williams on X)

tensions flared between guards Kayla Thornton and Sug Sutton during Wednesday's closely contested game between the New York Liberty and the Phoenix Mercury, resulting in double technical fouls.

The incident took place midway through the fourth quarter with the score tied at 65. During a dead ball, as Kayla Thornton prepared to guard Sutton, Sutton shouted in Thornton's face and started a short shoving match, prompting the technical fouls.

This led to a brief shouting match among their teammates. Watch the clip below.

As the game resumed, Kayla Thornton and Sutton continued to guard each other. The Liberty eventually secured a narrow 81-78 victory.

Kayla Thornton ended the game with three points and two rebounds in 12 minutes, shooting 1-of-4 from the field and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc.

Sug Sutton was scoreless in 20 minutes, shooting 0-of-4 from the field, but she contributed three rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.

Thornton, an eight-year veteran, is averaging 3.7 points per game this season, with a season-high of seven points in a game against the Seattle Storm on May 20.

Sutton is averaging 4.4 points per game off the bench, with a season-high of 12 points in a game against the Las Vegas Aces.

Kayla Thornton, New York Liberty eke out 81-78 win vs Phoenix Mercury

The New York Liberty snapped a two-game losing streak by edging out the Phoenix Mercury, 81-78. Prior to this game, the Liberty had lost by nine points to the Chicago Sky and by 17 points to the Minnesota Lynx.

The Liberty started strong with a 33-20 lead in the first quarter, but the Phoenix Mercury rallied in the second quarter, outscoring the Liberty 24-14.

With the game tied at 74 in the fourth quarter, the Liberty went on a 6-0 run, capped by two free throws from Sabrina Ionescu, to secure the win.

Ionescu led the Liberty with a game-high 22 points, including four triples, nine assists, and six rebounds. Jonquel Jones contributed 20 points and seven rebounds.

Liberty forwards Betnijah Laney-Hamilton and Breanna Stewart added 16 and 13 points, respectively, with Stewart also contributing eight blocks.

For the Mercury, Natasha Cloud led with 21 points. Kahleah Copper added 20 points, nine rebounds, and two steals, while Diana Taurasi had 14 points and four rebounds.

The close game was reflected in the stats, with both teams nearly even in several categories: field goals made (29-28 in favor of Mercury), 3-pointers made (10-9 Mercury), rebounds (30-26 Liberty), assists (19-18 Liberty) and steals (7-6 Liberty).

The significant difference was in free throws, where the Liberty had a 16-10 advantage in made free throws, which was crucial in their three-point win.

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