Jones and Stewart help Liberty avoid sweep, take Game 3 of WNBA Finals, beat Aces 87-73

New York Liberty's Courtney Vandersloot (22) drives past Las Vegas Aces' Kelsey Plum (10) during the second half in Game 3 of a WNBA basketball final playoff series Sunday in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK — Jonquel Jones and the New York Liberty wouldn’t let the season end just yet.

She scored 27 points and Breanna Stewart added 20 to help the New York Liberty beat the Las Vegas Aces 87-73 on Sunday in the WNBA Finals and force a Game 4.


“I was doing whatever I can to make sure this team gets the win,” Jones said.

New York struggled in the first two games against the Aces in Las Vegas, but the Liberty found their shooting touch in Game 3 behind Jones, who hit four of the team’s 13 3-pointers.

“She was huge for us,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said of Jones, who came to the Liberty in a trade in the offseason. “Those 3’s changed the moment of the game a bit. The ball went in. Other games the ball weren’t going in for us. We got back to our identity. Proud of the effort and commitment and connection we had.”

This was the Liberty’s first win in the WNBA Finals since Teresa Weatherspoon’s half-court shot in Game 2 against Houston in 1999. The Aces are up 2-1 in the best-of-five series and Game 4 is Wednesday night in New York.

The Liberty led by three at halftime before scoring the first eight points of the third quarter to take a double-digit lead, bringing the crowd of 17,143 to its feet. They led 61-50 after three quarters.

Behind A’ja Wilson, the Aces got to within six before Stewart hit a turnaround jumper and Betnijah Laney stole the ball from Jackie Young at half court and made a layup to extend the lead back to 10.

Las Vegas didn’t challenge the rest of the way and star guard Chelsea Gray went back to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter after inuring her foot.

“I can’t give you an update, I’ll let you know when we know,” Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon said.

Kelsey Plum scored 29 points and Wilson added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Aces, who are looking to become the first team to win consecutive titles since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Sparks. That came on the heels of the Houston Comets winning the WNBA’s first four championships.

“This is a good team we’re talking about, obviously a different feeling in their place,” Wilson said of the Liberty. “We still have a chance to take care of business.”

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