Liberty hold off Aces in Game 3 to stay alive in WNBA Finals


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Liberty hold off Aces in Game 3 to stay alive in WNBA Finals

PUMPED. New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) reacts after the Las Vegas Aces call a timeout in the third quarter during Game 3 of the 2023 WNBA Finals at Barclays Center.

Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The New York Liberty cut their deficit in the best-of-five WNBA Finals to 1-2 as defending champion Las Vegas Aces miss out on a sweep

Jonquel Jones pumped in 27 points as the host New York Liberty staved off elimination in the WNBA Finals with an 87-73 win over the defending champion Las Vegas Aces in Game 3 on Sunday, October 15 (Monday, October 16, Manila time).

Jones made 10 of 15 shots from the field and 4 of 7 from the three-point line for New York, which also got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Breanna Stewart.

Betnijah Laney and Courtney Vandersloot each scored 12 points and Sabrina Ionescu dished out 11 assists.

Kelsey Plum paced Las Vegas with a game-high 29 points, while A’ja Wilson added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Chelsea Gray scored 11 points but left just past the halfway mark of the fourth quarter with a leg injury that required her to be helped to the locker room.

Las Vegas trailed 67-61 with 5:31 remaining after Wilson scored 5 straight points, but the Liberty put it away with a 12-3 run. Laney and Jones made back-to-back three-pointers during the stretch, and Stewart capped it with two foul shots at the 2:22 mark for a 79-64 advantage.

Game 4 of the series is Wednesday in New York. The Aces again will bid to become the first team since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Sparks to repeat as champions.

After allowing more than 100 points per game in the first two games of the Finals, New York came out with a more aggressive defensive performance. It forced early turnovers and held Las Vegas to its worst shooting performance of the series.

After New York established a 21-12 lead late in the first quarter, the Aces briefly equalized to start the second period before the Liberty regained and maintained a small lead for the half’s remainder. Jones’ fadeaway with 1:58 left in the half upped the margin to 7 points before Gray hit two buckets to pull Las Vegas within 43-40 at the break.

New York gained third-quarter separation thanks to its defense allowing only 10 points. It grew the advantage to 13 before Gray’s layup cut it to 61-50 heading to the fourth period. – Rappler.com

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