Sabrina Ionescu’s 21 points led five starters in double figures as the New York Liberty rallied in the second half for an 84-77 win over the visiting Connecticut Sun on Tuesday, leveling the teams’ best-of-five WNBA semifinal series at 1-1.
Betnijah Laney added 20 points for New York, going 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Courtney Vandersloot hit for 19, while Jonquel Jones and WNBA Most Valuable Player Breanna Stewart each chipped in double-doubles. Jones had 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Stewart finished with 11 points, 11 boards and five assists.
Tiffany Hayes carried the Sun’s offense with a game-high 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-8 success on 3-point attempts. DeWanna Bonner added 19 points, while Alyssa Thomas chipped in 10 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
The key spurt came early in the fourth quarter as the Liberty used a 10-2 run to take a 72-62 advantage, capped by Stewart’s first 3-pointer of the series.
The next two games will be played in Uncasville, Conn., starting Friday night with Game 3.
The first half was more or less an extension of Sunday, when Connecticut set the pace with surprising scoring punch from its backcourt and solid defense that kept Stewart under wraps.
New York opened up leads of 14-7 and 16-11 before the Sun exploded for 11 unanswered points to finish the quarter. Hayes and Bonner combined for nine of those points and Connecticut held a 22-16 lead going to the second period.
Hayes kept converting in the second as Connecticut maintained its lead. Her 3-pointer made it 37-31 with less than two minutes left in the half, and Thomas made two foul shots with 9.6 seconds remaining for a 42-38 edge at the break.
Stewart, who through the first half was 7 of 30 from the field in the series, finally got off the mark with a layup at the 7:17 mark of the third quarter. The hoop started an 11-0 run that gave the Liberty a 56-47 cushion before the Sun rallied within 59-57 heading to the fourth.
–Field Level Media
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