Liberty defeat Mystics 90-85 in OT to advance to 2023 WNBA playoffs semifinals

Aug 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart (30) takes a shot against Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young (0) and forward Alysha Clark (7) during the second quarter at Michelob Ultra Arena.

NEW YORK (AP) — Breanna Stewart scored 27 points and the New York Liberty beat the Washington Mystics 90-85 in overtime on Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs for the first time in eight years.

New York hadn’t won a playoff series since 2015. The Liberty will play either No. 3 Connecticut or sixth-seeded Minnesota. Those two teams will play the deciding game of their best-of-three series on Wednesday night. The semifinals begin Sunday.

The Liberty had to work to advance after blowing an 11-point halftime lead.

New York built an 84-79 lead in overtime before Washington got within 86-85 with 38 seconds left. The Liberty worked the shot clock down before Jonquel Jones turned it over. Brittney Sykes drove down the other end before turning it over herself with 14 seconds remaining.

Stewart hit two free throws with a few seconds later to give New York an 88-85 advantage. Ariel Atkins missed a contested three-pointer with seven seconds remaining and Stewart hit two free throws to seal the win.

Jones finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds for New York.

Natasha Cloud scored a career-high 33 points to lead Washington.

Both teams had chances in the final seconds of regulation. Cloud threw the ball away on the inbounds and then Courtney Vandersloot gave it back when she tried to get the ball to Stewart at the top of the key with 3 seconds left. Washington couldn’t get a shot off before the clock expired.