Ionescu and Laney assist Liberty beat Solar 84-77 to even semifinals sequence at 1-1

Sports activities Information

“We got here right here and obtained a cut up, now we’ve got the chance to go house,” Connecticut coach Stephanie White mentioned.

Connecticut Sun forward DeWanna Bonner attacks the rim against New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart.
Connecticut Solar ahead DeWanna Bonner (24) assaults the rim towards New York Liberty ahead Breanna Stewart (30). Mary Altaffer/AP Photograph

NEW YORK (AP) — With their season on the road, Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney took over to assist New York even their playoff sequence with Connecticut.

  • Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas, center, drives to basket against New York Liberty forward Jonquel Jones.

    Bonner and Allen lead Connecticut to a 78-63 win over New York in Recreation 1 of WNBA semifinal sequence

  • Connecticut Solar coach Stephanie White named WNBA Coach of the Yr

Ionescu scored 21 factors and Laney added 20, together with a key 3-pointers within the fourth quarter, to assist the Liberty beat the Solar 84-77 on Tuesday night time to knot their playoff semifinal sequence 1-1.

“Understanding what’s at stake. We knew we needed to win this recreation,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello mentioned. “Win on our house courtroom. you may see a really linked workforce right this moment.”

Recreation 3 is Friday night time in Connecticut.

New York led 59-57 to start out the fourth quarter earlier than the workforce went on a 13-5 run to start out the interval. Breanna Stewart, who was having a tough offensive night time hours after she was honored because the WNBA’s MVP, hit her first 3-pointer of the sequence to cap the spurt and provides the Liberty a 72-62 benefit. Stewart had missed her first 11 3s within the opening two video games. She completed the sport with 11 factors, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks however missed 10 of her 13 photographs from the sector.

Connecticut was in a position to get inside hanging distance just a few occasions after that, however Laney answered with key 3-pointers. Her second one made it 80-70 with 2:55 left. Laney was coming off a tough Recreation 1 the place she had simply three factors.

The Solar scored 5 straight to make one last push, trailing 80-75 with 1:43 left earlier than Ionescu hit two free throws after which obtained a steal on the following possession to seal the win.

“We performed inside ourselves, battled for 40 minutes and we needed to climate the storm,” Ionescu mentioned. “[Laney] hit big photographs for us. [Courtney Vandersloot] hit big slots for us. [Stewart] hit an enormous one as effectively. Everybody made the performs that helped us win the sport.”

Tiffany Hayes scored 30 points and DeWanna Bonner added 19 to guide Connecticut.

“We got here right here and obtained a cut up, now we’ve got the chance to go house,” Connecticut coach Stephanie White mentioned.

The Liberty, who scored a season-low 63 factors in Recreation 1, trailed by 4 on the half earlier than getting going within the third quarter. They had been down 47-45 earlier than scoring 11 straight, together with Stewart’s first basket of the sport. New York was up 59-50 with 4:14 left within the third earlier than going scoreless the remainder of the interval because the Solar minimize their deficit to 59-57.

Earlier than the sport, Stewart was awarded the league’s MVP trophy by WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert a lot to the delight of the sellout crowd that included Grammy award winner Alicia Keys. Stewart edged Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas and Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson in one of many closest races ever for the award. All the Liberty workforce wore MVP Stewart shirts in warmups.

The Liberty had been up 14-7 earlier than Connecticut closed the primary quarter on 15-2 run to take 22-16 benefit. Hayes had 12 factors within the opening 10 minutes. The Solar continued that spurt prolonged the result in 30-18 earlier than the Liberty scored seven straight throughout a 10-4 run to get within the recreation.

Stewart scored her first factors of the sport on two free throws in that burst.

New York obtained inside 37-36 earlier than the Solar led by 4 on the break behind Hayes’ 17 factors and 11 from Bonner.

Rallying behind their chief

It was an emotional day for Connecticut as Thomas simply missed out on profitable the MVP. Her teammates rallied round her.

“What Alyssa did this season was unbelievable. The information was emotional, that was powerful for her,” mentioned Bonner, who’s engaged to Thomas. “It’s powerful for our workforce. however we got here out and performed for her tonight. We didn’t get the win, however we’ll proceed to play for her.”

Thomas completed the sport with 10 factors, 9 assists and eight rebounds.

Transition factors

After going with out a quick break level in Recreation 1, New York obtained its first factors on the break on Ionescu’s transition 3-pointer within the last minute of the primary half. The Liberty completed the sport with 16 factors on the break.