Liberty beat the Aces 82-63 in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Marine Johannes scored 17 points with five 3-pointers, Jonquel Jones had 16 points and 15 rebounds, and the New York Liberty beat the Las Vegas Aces 82-63 on Tuesday night to win the third WNBA Commissioner’s Cup championship.
New York handed Las Vegas its first home loss of the season — in 16 games — after holding the Aces below 65 points for the second time in nine days.
New York closed the third quarter on a 15-5 run to take a 56-48 lead — capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Kayla Thornton. Sabrina Ionescu added consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to extend it to 66-52.
The Liberty finished 15 of 35 from 3-point range, while the Aces made just 5 of 26. New York also held A’ja Wilson, the Aces’ leading scorer at 21.2 points per game, to just nine points — all in the first half.
Breanna Stewart scored 13 points, Ionescu added 12 and Courtney Vandersloot had 11 points and 10 assists for New York. Jones was named the MVP of the championship game after securing her 11th double-double of the season. Thornton finished with eight points to help the Liberty have a 28-8 edge in bench points.
Jackie Young scored 16 points, and Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum each added 15 points for Las Vegas. The Aces shot just 33% from the field and were outrebounded 49-28.
The game got off to a slow start as each team missed its first seven field goals until Stewart put New York ahead 3-2 with 6:12 remaining in the first quarter. Las Vegas made just one of its first 16 field goals, including 0 of 8 from distance.
New York led 32-23 with 3:57 left before halftime but didn’t score again as Las Vegas scored the final 11 points for a 34-32 lead at the break. Gray tied it at 32-all with 41.1 seconds left after converting a three-point play and Young added a fast-break layup. Gray had 11 points at the break. The Aces shot just 30% from the field in the first half, including 2 of 15 from 3-point range.
The in-season tournament saw New York and Las Vegas finish as the top teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences. Each member of the Liberty will receive around $30,000. Players on the Aces each get about $10,000.
The Aces (27-3) and Liberty (24-6) also are 1-2 in the WNBA regular-season standings and have secured playoff spots. The two teams play each other in a regular-season game on Thursday. New York has won six straight regular-season games.
The first-place Aces won both the Commissioner’s Cup and the WNBA title last season.
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