Both home teams came out victorious in Game 2 of the WNBA semifinals, with the No. 2 seed New York Liberty beating the No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun 84-77 to even their series and the No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces staying undefeated in the playoffs with a 91-84 win over the No. 4 seed Dallas Wings.
New York evens series
MVP WITH THE REJECTION ❌ pic.twitter.com/FtRWaeICHk— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 27, 2023
Facing the possibility of going down 0-2 in the series, New York responded, beating Connecticut 84-77 thanks to a 21-point performance by Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney’s 20 points.
Connecticut started the game well, with a 42-38 advantage after two quarters of play. New York’s offense struggled through most of the opening half, with Ionescu and Jonquel Jones the only Liberty players in double figures. New York went on an 18-5 run to start the third, taking control of the game and never looking back. Connecticut made one more run in the fourth, getting within five with 1:43 remaining. But Ionescu hit two free throws and forced a turnover on the defense to help secure the win for the Liberty.
The Sun shortened their rotation to just two bench players, with Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Ty Harris combining for 12 points. DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas played all 40 minutes.
Before the game, Breanna Stewart was named the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player in one of the closest MVP races in WNBA history. She struggled through most of Game 2, mustering just 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting. She did have a big block in the third quarter on Nelson-Ododa and made a few clutch buckets in the fourth to seal the win. The series will now move to Connecticut as the Sun host the Liberty on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.
Aces remain unbeaten
A’ja Wilson finished third in the MVP race, but she certainly played like an MVP on Tuesday, helping Las Vegas remain unbeaten in the semifinals with a 91-84 win. Wilson scored at least 30 points for the third-straight playoff game—a feat no player has accomplished in WNBA history.
From the jump, it was the Wilson and Chelsea Gray show. The duo outscored the Wings alone in the opening quarter and continued their peak performances throughout the game. Gray ended the night with 23 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Dallas didn’t give up without a fight. Arike Ogunbowale led the Wings with 24 points and Natasha Howard had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Wings got to within five points in the final quarter before the Aces went on a 13-6 run midway through the fourth to put the lead out of reach. Even though Dallas played a solid game, with four starters in double figures, they head home facing an 0-2 deficit; no WNBA team has come back to win a five-game series after falling down 0-2.
On the brink of elimination, Dallas must win on Friday if they want to keep their season alive. Game 3 is at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.
After two games, rotations have been reduced and roles further established. All teams are essentially going seven players deep as it feels like all possible adjustments have been made. Connecticut is right where they want to be, heading home with an even series. On the other hand, Dallas has some work to do, likely needing more from Satou Sabally, who has yet to have a breakout game in this series, to keep their season alive. With both teams playing on Friday and Sunday (if necessary for Dallas vs. Las Vegas), we are one step closer to determining which two teams will compete in the WNBA Finals.