(Photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
The New York Liberty host the Connecticut Sun in Game 1 of a highly anticipated Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn.
The Liberty swept the Washington Mystics in the first round, scoring 90 points in both games to win their first playoff series since 2015. They hope to keep that offense rolling against the Sun, who needed three games to put away the Minnesota Lynx.
New York used a balanced attack to eliminate Washington with a 90-85 overtime victory Tuesday. Sabrina Ionescu managed only 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting but three others -- Breanna Stewart (27), Betnijah Laney (19) and Jonquel Jones (19) -- all stepped up.
"I don't need to score 30 every night as long as we win," Ionescu said. "That's why we have the team that we have, and if I'm able to have their best defender out of the action and off the ball, and allowing other players to come off pick and rolls, I've done my job."
The Sun, the defending Eastern Conference champions, topped Minnesota 90-75 in Wednesday's decisive Game 3. DeWanna Bonner scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win while becoming the fifth player in league history to reach 1,000 career playoff points.
Alyssa Thomas led the Sun with 28 points and 12 assists. She scored 69 points in the three playoff games against the Lynx and earned high praise from Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve after the series finale in Minneapolis.
"I don't know of a player with a greater will to win. That's a player who just puts her team on her back," Reeve said.
New York and Connecticut finished second and third, respectively, in the overall WNBA standings in the regular season. The Liberty swept all four regular-season meetings against the Sun.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Tuesday at Brooklyn.
--Field Level Media