NEW YORK — On to the next one.
The Liberty survived a wild Game 2 to secure a first-round series sweep against the Washington Mystics and advance into the second round of the WNBA playoffs.
It took an overtime period for Sandy Brondello’s team to edge the Mystics, 90-85, at Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
Breanna Stewart, who finished with 29 points and nine rebounds, was the hero in OT. She drained the last four free throws in the final moments of the game, which put her team up five with four seconds remaining in OT.
The Mystics had no timeouts to advance and star Elena Delle Donne dribbled up the court as the Barclays Center crowd erupted in support of the home team.
It’s the first time the Liberty advanced to the second round since 2017. Brondello said she wasn’t aware of the drought pregame, but it came to an end after a tough battle against the seventh-seeded Mystics.
As expected, the Mystics fought to the end with their playoff lives on the line. The same aggression the Mystics started Game 1 with returned after halftime Tuesday as they trailed by 11. It afforded them a four-point lead with 2:40 remaining in the game.
Then chaos ensued.
Betnijah Laney hit a clutch corner 3-pointer with 2:18 left on the clock. After Natasha Cloud, who finished with 30 points, missed a wide open trey, Courtney Vandersloot ran offense on the other end. She used a flurry of screens to get Jonquel Jones an easy layup with 1:38 remaining. It put the Libs up one after the Barclays Crowd erupted while envisioning a second-round matchup.
But neither team could close it out. Tough defense under the playoff intensity led to multiple turnovers on both sides. Brittney Sykes recovered a Vandersloot turnover as time expired. Sykes wasn’t able to get up a game-winner like she did in the regular-season finale and her team eventually got eliminated in two games.
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