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New York Liberty Roar Back with Vital Game 3 Victory Against Sun

The New York Liberty found themselves in a make-or-break scenario as they ventured into Connecticut for Game 3 of their WNBA semifinal series against the Sun. With the series hanging in the balance, the Liberty knew they had to rally and reclaim their momentum. And that's precisely what they did.

In a pivotal clash on Friday night, the Liberty stunned the third-seeded Connecticut Sun with a resounding 92-81 victory in Uncasville. The win not only thrust New York ahead 2-1 in the series but also inched them closer to their first WNBA Finals appearance since 2002 and the elusive championship they've long coveted.

The Liberty's stunning performance in the opening quarter set the tone for this must-win encounter. They exploded out of the gates, amassing a commanding 37-16 lead. Shooting an impressive 62.5% from the field while stifling Connecticut's offense to just 38.9%, New York demonstrated the kind of basketball prowess that had fans on the edge of their seats.

Laney continues to show why she is a star for the Liberty. Photo: NY Liberty Instagram
Laney continues to show why she is a star for the Liberty. Photo: NY Liberty Instagram

Breanna Stewart, who had been searching for her shooting touch in the postseason, found it in that exhilarating first frame. Her 11-for-19 shooting performance, coupled with a 1-for-3 display from beyond the arc, was a game-changer for the Liberty. Stewart's resurgence signaled that the team was firing on all cylinders when they needed it most.

However, as the game progressed, the Sun showed their resilience. They outplayed the Liberty for much of the remaining 30 minutes, outscoring their opponents by 11 points. For Sun coach Stephanie White, this was an encouraging sign of her team's fighting spirit.

One crucial takeaway from Game 3 was the absence of Rebecca Allen, who was sidelined due to a non-COVID illness. Connecticut clearly missed her impact, both defensively and as a sharpshooter who stretches the floor. Allen's absence served as a stark reminder of the intangibles she brings to the team as a veteran presence.

The Liberty might have secured their second-largest postseason victory margin, but make no mistake; the Sun remain firmly in the mix, particularly if Allen returns to action on Sunday. Her presence could be a game-changer for the Sun, who are determined to claw their way back into this series.

So, what are the keys to Sunday's Game 4?

All three are needed to win the series, especially Jones she is the key! Photo: NY Liberty Instagram
All three are needed to win the series, especially Jones she is the key! Photo: NY Liberty Instagram

For Connecticut, a healthy Rebecca Allen would be a welcomed boost. The Sun must also recapture their defensive prowess and feed off the energy generated from that end of the floor. Allowing New York to score 50 points in the paint won't cut it. The Sun's ability to thwart the Liberty's transition game is paramount to their success.

On the other side of the court, the Liberty must summon the energy and focus necessary to fend off an anticipated ferocious effort from the Sun. They'll aim to avoid a return to Brooklyn for a winner-takes-all Game 5. Another standout shooting night from Breanna Stewart would be invaluable, but as Game 3 showcased, it's Betnijah Laney who emerges as the Liberty's X-factor.

Laney has been a consistent force, scoring at least 19 points in four of New York's five postseason outings. Her three-point performance in the 15-point Game 1 loss to Connecticut was the outlier. The Liberty boast an impressive 16-2 record when Laney notches at least 14 points, underscoring the pivotal role she plays in their success.

As the Liberty and the Sun gear up for Game 4, the stakes couldn't be higher. New York's victory in Game 3 has breathed new life into their championship aspirations, but the Sun are poised for a fierce comeback. It's a thrilling showdown that promises to keep fans on the edge of their seats, as both teams chase their dreams of WNBA glory.

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