In a high-stakes showdown that had fans on the edge of their seats, the New York Liberty emerged victorious against the Connecticut Sun, securing their spot in the WNBA Finals. With emotions running high and the stakes higher than ever, both teams displayed incredible determination and resilience throughout the game. Pregame, the coaches set the tone for their respective teams. Coach Sandy Brondello of the New York Liberty emphasized the importance of focus and maintaining emotional balance. She urged her team to take control of the game's energy, not allowing emotions to sway them too high or low. On the other side, Coach Stephanie White of the Connecticut Sun rallied her players to play for each other and leave everything on the court, challenging them to empty their tanks. Connecticut's Natisha Hiedeman, in a pregame declaration, hinted at the team's high spirits, noting that she had control of the "aux plug," symbolizing the energy that would fuel their performance. As the game unfolded, the Connecticut Sun initially took a 19-14 lead, but the Liberty responded swiftly. Alyssa Thomas, a standout player for the Sun, demonstrated her prowess by notching her third career postseason triple-double, with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals. However, it was Rebecca Allen who led the Sun early with five points. The Sun extended their lead in the second quarter, going up by ten points, thanks to contributions from DeWanna Bonner and Tiffany Hayes. But the Liberty, led by Breanna Stewart, answered with a 7-0 run, setting the stage for a close battle. By halftime, the Liberty had taken a narrow 45-44 lead, with Thomas continuing to excel for Connecticut. The third quarter saw New York open with an 8-0 run, pushing their lead to eight points. The Sun struggled to keep up, but Hayes and Thomas managed to contribute despite the challenging circumstances. Going into the fourth quarter, the Liberty held a 66-58 advantage. The Sun didn't go down without a fight, opening the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to narrow the gap to just two points. Connecticut briefly took the lead, but New York ultimately secured an 87-83 victory. Ty Harris and DiJonai Carrington played pivotal roles in keeping Connecticut in the game during the final minutes. Breanna Stewart, with 27 points and nine rebounds, led the New York Liberty to victory, while Betnijah Laney added 21 points, five assists, and seven rebounds, Jonquel Jones 25 points and 15 rebounds. The win brought the Liberty closer to their goal of reaching the WNBA Finals.
In the post-game reflection, Alyssa Thomas expressed her pride in the season, acknowledging her exceptional performance and record-breaking achievements. "I had a season never seen in this league. And probably won't see again, unless I do it... We're talking about league records. For me, I have a lot to be proud of. No one can take away the fact I'll always be in the record books." Coach Stephanie White also shared her satisfaction with the team's journey, highlighting the camaraderie that had developed over the season “I’m glad I was able to ride for them”.
Photos By: Connecticut Sun Instagram. Betnijah Laney, looking ahead to the finals, expressed her happiness, stating that they had achieved their goal, now it's time to finish. Coach Brondello highlighted a crucial steal by JJ, emphasizing the team's unity and connection. In a thrilling clash filled with ups and downs, the New York Liberty prevailed over the Connecticut Sun, securing their place in the WNBA Finals. The finals are set to begin October 8th at 3pm on ABC.