7 Liberty steals the first game against defending champion Sky, 98-91, in Chicago

seed number 7 New York Liberty gig number 2 Chicago Sky, 98-91, for Game 1 of the first round series at Winterst Arena in Chicago on Wednesday. Sky is the defending champion after claiming the title as the No. 6 seed last season.

Match 2 returns on Saturday in Chicago. The tipping time is noon Eastern Standard Time. on ESPN. If the series moves to Game 3, it will go to Barclays Center in New York, giving Liberty the advantage of home stadiums.

It’s Liberty’s first playoff win since September 23, 2015. They reached the playoffs last year and led Phoenix Mercury to the final seconds, by one point. The 98-point record is a breakout record for the distinction.

New York was down six with 3:32 on the clock. They set off on a 13-0 streak to close out a match that started with another beautiful pass from Marin Johannes to Natasha Howard’s wide open pass in the paint. Chicago missed 10 of his last 11 shots and turned the ball at crucial times.

Sabrina Ionescu drilled a triple pointer and Howard put away another easy-looking basket that gave Liberty a 92-91 lead. Ionescu’s jump around the corner forced Sky to take a timeout with 2:01 on the clock. Lani devised her own shot to gain a five-point lead from the timeout.

How Liberty won Game 1

Neither team has had a double-digit advantage at any point in the competition, which is a predictable scenario after the two teams’ last three matches. The two teams are considered one of the best teams in moving the ball in an offensive manner, and this was shown during a close match.

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Transformations smashed onto the sky in the second quarter and put them playing from behind throughout the second half. New York went 11-0 in a breakout run by Kahleah Cooper and scored 14 points from six Sky transformations to go to the locker room 48-45

Dolson hit a jump and three pointers from the first half and Petnia Lani completed a four-point play at 55-47 in the third minute. Copper finished the streak again with another drive and 1 with the help of Courtney Vanderslott.

Cooper and Chicago continued to storm the lead and Emma Messman hit the final set of the quarter to give Sky a 74-73 lead in the final 10 minutes. This was their first advance since the second quarter.

Chicago scored 10 turnovers and couldn’t keep up with Liberty’s three-point shot. New York 11 of 25 (44%) were behind the arc fueled by a potential and an unexpected source. Ionescu was 3 of 6 (8 of 12 overall) and Dolson, the title-winning position with Sky last season, made 3 of 4 from the range.

Ionesco scored 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and stole twice. Dolson scored 13 with seven rebounds, three assists and a block. Howard scored 22 points (9 of 17) with seven rebounds, three assists and a shock.

What Sky can do even if it’s serial

Chicago had significant contributions from the 2021 Finals MVP Cooper, who scored 21 on 7 of 14 rebounds with eight rebounds. She fell and grabbed her right knee halfway through the third, but she dumped the athletic trainers and got back into the game. Less than a minute later, I was hit hard.

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Allie Quigley (18 points), Candace Parker (17p, 10 rebounds), Vandersloot (13p, 10 assists) and Azura Stevens (16 points from the bench) all advanced. Quigley hit shots in the midrange and made a highlight reel with a crucial block, but her 3-point shot was needed. The 3-point champion was four times 2 of 7.

Meesseman’s bucket at the end of the third looked like it might change momentum on the sky’s way. The 2019 Finals players will need to make a bigger imprint for Chicago to win Game Two. I scored four points on a 2-for-7 night and got four rebounds with two blocks.

Sky vs Liberty series schedule

Game 1: Liberty 98, Sky 91

Second game (Saturday): New York at Chicago, noon ET on ESPN

Third game (Tuesday, if needed): Chicago in New York, 8 PM ET on ESPN2

Chicago Sky’s Candice Parker leads the basket against New York Liberty’s Stephanie Dolson during the first half of Game 1 in the first round of the WNBA 2022 Preliminaries at Winterst Arena in Chicago on August 17, 2022. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

WNBA 2022 Qualifiers: Catch all the action of the first round live, including the TV broadcast schedule, lineups, injury reports and more

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