Jazmine Jones hit a key triple-pointer with 1:02 to play as part of her fourth 14-point quarter, which lifted New York Liberty (6-4) after Phoenix Mercury (5-6), 85-83Saturday night at the Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix.
It was impressive seeing Liberty defeat the Good Phoenix with Sabrina Ionescu sitting out due to tendinitis and Natasha Howard still out with a knee injury. She spoke again about the determination of the team’s third star, Betnijah Laney.
Jones scored all but four of New York’s points in the final frame and received a pass and a kick from Laney (23 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, only one turn) before the decisive hat-trick, which lifted Liberty 83-79.
“We knew during the clutch moments that we wanted the ball in B’s hand because she was doing a great job finding people,” Jones said. “She did a great job finding people throughout the match. So we knew (if) the ball was in her hands if she started driving they would fall apart and get two of her. So we just knew as a team we had to be ready to shoot. Luckily B found me ready to shoot.” .
Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said Jones was the man of the match in his opinion, even though she scored just two points in the first three quarters combined.
“The Jazz really got us on its back in the fourth quarter,” Hopkins said. “She kept attacking, and played a great defense. The spark that she is, really cool. I thought the times when our attack would break down or Phoenix would really be trapped and starting to protect our actions a little bit better and slowed down a little bit, Jazz seemed to repeatedly create a shot for herself. It was Really cool. … I know there are some really good stats for the other players, but I think the Jazz won us in that match.”
Laney later made an impressive shot at Britney Grenier (29 points, 14 rebounds) with 34.9 points remaining which pushed New York’s lead to four.
Phoenix’s Skylar Diggins-Smith (25 points, five assists) rebounded with 4.8 seconds left and her team had a chance to dribble off the ground and tie or win the game on final possession. However, Rebecca Allen stole the ball from Diggins-Smith because she was about to attempt a throw and the clock ran out, ending Liberty’s three-game losing streak.
“It was really nice to be back in the winning streak,” Laney said. We just want to keep moving forward. Use that momentum we now have in these next few games on this wild ride. Just use it to the best of your ability to get more.”
Lani’s play this season has been pretty solid for Lip…she’s been shown in her hard hat fighting and running! Keep Pushin https://t.co/ai0EdbLaF1
– Swin Cash (SwinCash) June 14, 2021
New York struggled hard to maintain little progress during the fourth. Phoenix tied once (72-72 with 6:10 to play) but did not advance in the quarter.
Liberty finished the first half in the round 16-3 after trailing 11-10. They advanced by 12 at the end of both the first and second before Mercury won the third with six.
Sammy Whitcombe (six assists) and Kelly Shock contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively, to the victory.
Las Vegas Ace (8-3) over Dallas Wings (5-6), 85-78
Aja Wilson (28 points, 14 rebounds) scored her second-highest point total of the season and captured more than 13 rebounds for the third game in a row. She converted a 3-point game with 2:17 to play that started 8-0 Aces, which raised the team’s lead from 2 to 10 and pushed the game away. Liz Campag (14 points, eight rebounds) scored the final five points of the round, including 3 pointers with 1:23 to play.
Kelsey Bloom added 13 points for Vegas while Sato Sabali scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the defeat.
Atlanta Dream (5-6) over Washington Mystics (4-6), 101-78
The dream was actually slipping six after one in this, but it ended with a resounding win that ended a four-game losing streak. The Mystics won twice in a row, so this was a huge win for Atlanta to show they still had them.
The Dream had five players with double numbers and eight with six or more points. Courtney Williams (three steals) led the way with 21 points while Odyssey Sims scored 20 points with four assists and four assists. Tiffany Hayes added 18 points and provided six assists for the team.
Misha Heinz Allen led the Mystics team with 16 points. Ariel Atkins added 15 points and four shots.
Seattle Storm (10-2) over Connecticut Sun (8-3), 89-66
The Storm easily one against the Sun who were playing without an MVP candidate at Jonquel Jones. Seattle won the first quarter 25-16 before taking second with five, third with three and fourth with six.
Breanna Stewart led the winners with 22 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals while Sue Bird added 13 points and four assists. Joel Lloyd was suspended on seven points.
DeWanna Bonner, listed as Doubtful (at the back) before the game, scored 14 points for the burglars, as did Kayla Charles in just 16 minutes off the bench.