The Liberty mentioned it could take a 40-minute effort to get previous the Mystics.
Seems it took 45.
In a back-and-forth sport of runs, the Liberty made the final one rely in a 90-85 time beyond regulation victory.
The chippy, frenetic first-round Recreation 2 win clinched the collection 2-0 earlier than a sellout crowd of 9,256 at Barclays Middle.
It marked the Liberty’s first playoff collection win since 2017, organising a semifinal date towards Wednesday’s Connecticut-Minnesota winner.
However with this star-studded roster and the WNBA’s second-best file, their sights are set far increased.
“It means quite a bit,” mentioned Breanna Stewart, who had a team-high 27 factors and 9 rebounds. “I don’t know if we’re fascinated about getting this group again to someplace the Liberty hasn’t been in years, however the first time that we’ve been capable of do it as a gaggle.
“There was highs and lows, and we knew it was going to be emotional. Clearly, D.C. is gonna exit swinging and exit with no matter they’ve, and we stayed the course. It doesn’t matter what, we didn’t cease taking part in till the ultimate buzzer, and we got here away with the win.”
Stewart bounced again from a subpar 3 of 16 opener with a stellar night time.
And with Natasha Cloud harassing Liberty guards Sabrina Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot, coach Sandy Brondello ran the offense by way of Stewart late, and the ahead — who sat for simply 56 seconds all night time — had a game-high six factors in a 14-9 OT.
“The massive second — and I kicked myself on the finish not doing it — nevertheless it’s simply making Stewie the purpose guard,” Brondello mentioned. “That was an enormous second, as a result of the guards, they only made Slootie and Sabrina, it was a tricky night time. So we put the ball again in Stewie’s fingers, and we’re making higher choices. And that offensive rebound by JJ.”
That may be heart Jonquel Jones — additionally a former MVP — who grabbed Ionescu’s missed free throw with 12.6 seconds left, drew a foul and hit each foul photographs to drive time beyond regulation. Jones added 19 factors, 14 rebounds and three blocks to dominate the paint, and held Elena Delle Donne to 11 factors on 4 of 16 capturing.
The Liberty had 52 factors within the paint — and on an evening they hit simply 4 of 23 from deep, they wanted each one in all them.
Washington tried to return out bodily, however ultimately it was the Liberty that received the 2 greatest rebounds of the collection.
Trailing 76-74 with 27.3 seconds left in regulation on free throws by Cloud (career-high 33 factors), Stewart rebounded her personal miss.
That arrange free throws with 12.6 seconds left by Ionescu, who clanked the primary then purposely missed the second to arrange Jones’ heroics.
When Cloud threw away a cross for Brittney Sykes, it basically despatched the sport into time beyond regulation.
“I knew we have been going into time beyond regulation. And that was actually it,” Stewart mentioned. “JJ and I gave one another the look: We wished to cross and trigger some confusion. Sab missed the free throw, and he or she received it. There was a foul referred to as and I knew she was going to knock down two. And that was actually it. We knew that, ‘OK, we didn’t get it performed in 40 minutes, however in 5 minutes, we’ll get it performed.’ ”
Cloud’s 3 put Washington up 79-78 in time beyond regulation, however the Liberty scored the subsequent six — Betnijah Laney hit a fade, then Vandersloot added a layup and a jumper with 2:29 to play.
Ariel Atkins’ miss from 3 with 8.8 seconds left basically sealed it, and Stewart’s free throws 4 seconds afterward the opposite finish made it official.
“I positively assume simply from the start of our entire journey, I felt like this group was particular and was going to have the ability to do lots of particular issues,” Jones mentioned.
“I’m a really like step-by-step sort of individual. I’m simply taking one sport at a time, one collection at a time clearly, and put together for our subsequent matchup. However I perceive that if we performed the best way we’re imagined to play and do what we’re supposed to try this probabilities of us being profitable are very excessive.”
- Liberty survive Mystics scare for OT win to advance in WNBA playoffs
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