Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart of the New York Liberty (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out)
Former WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones of the New York Liberty scored 19 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked three shots and Breanna Stewart scored 27 points and added nine rebounds to lead the team to a 90-85 win to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 WNBA layoffs in front of a star-studded crowd that included former NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, and hip-hop stars Fat Joe and Fabolous at Barclays Center on Sept. 19.
Washington’s Natasha Cloud had a spectacular all-around game, scoring 33 points, dishing out nine assists, grabbing six rebounds, and adding four steals, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the loss of second-year center Shakira Austin who missed both games with a hip injury, and a hobbled former WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, who was 4-16 from the field and scored 11 points. New York Liberty head coach discussed a game-changing series of plays that sent the game into overtime after a Washington turnover and a pair of missed free throws by New York.
“That rebound, the free throw rebound by (Jonquel Jones), that was a missed shot, a shot we knew we had to miss to get that and for her to knock down two big (free throws) for us, that was big for us,” she said. “Sometimes, a little luck has to go your way.”Jones was asked what was going through her mind after she was fouled and had a chance to tie the game with two free-throw makes.
“What was going through my mind? That I had to redeem myself after that terrible turnover, honestly,” she replied. “There was no other option but to make the free throws.”
The win was the first playoff series victory for the team in eight years. New York will host Game One of the WNBA semifinals at Barclays Center on Sunday at 1 p.m. against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
Source: Rolling Out