BROOKLYN, NY (October 15, 2023)—The Las Vegas Aces fell behind early and despite receiving a playoff career-high 29 points from Kelsey Plum, were unable to mount a comeback in an 87-73 loss to the New York Liberty in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center. A’ja Wilson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Chelsea Gray scored 11 points and Kiah Stokes grabbed 9 boards. Jonquel Jones scored a team-high 27 points and Breanna Stewart had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Liberty.
The Aces next chance to secure back-t0-back WNBA titles will come on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Barclays Center at 5 pm PT on ESPN.
First Quarter Highlights (New York 21, Las Vegas 18)
With the score tied at 10, the Liberty scored 8-straight points in an 11-2 run for a 21-12 lead with 2 minutes to go in the quarter. Plum closed it out with a 6-0 run and the Aces trailed 21-18 after the first period. Plum led the Aces with 8 points and Jones had 8 for the Liberty. The Aces connected on 35.7% of their shots from the field and 25% from 3-point, while the Liberty hit 42.1% overall and 5 of 9 from afar. The Liberty outscored the Aces 6-0 in transition and had 7 assists to the Aces’ 1.
Second Quarter Highlights (New York 43, Las Vegas 40)
Plum evened it up with a 3 but the Liberty countered with a 7-0 spurt for a 28-21 lead, which increased to 8 points, 31-23, at 7:28. From there, neither team managed to score more than 4 in a row. Plum scored 7 for the Aces, while Jones had 10 for the home side. Las Vegas made 41.2% of their field goal attempts but just 28.6% from distance, while New York shot 60% from the field, but cooled to 25% from 3-point range. The Aces held a 7-4 edge on the glass and outscored the Liberty 5-0 on second chance points.
Third Quarter Highlights (New York 61, Las Vegas 52)
The Liberty started the second half with 8-straight points in an eventual 14-4 run that expanded their lead to 57-44. In all, the Liberty outscored the Aces 18-10 in the third period. Gray scored 5 points for the Aces and Jones had 6 for New York. The Aces were held to 18.2% from the field and the Liberty netted 46.7% of theirs.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (New York 87, Las Vegas 73)
The Aces cut the lead to 7 points, 71-64, with less than 4 minutes to play, but the Liberty outscored the Aces 16-9 to close out the game. Plum scored 14 points and Stewart had 6 in the final frame. The Aces netted 43.8% of their field goal attempts but the Liberty made 64.3% of their shots in the 4th quarter. Chelsea Gray left the game with 4:15 remaining with an injury to her left foot and did not return.
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The Aces were held to 33.3% of their field goal attempts and 31.8% from distance, while the Liberty shot 52.4% overall and 43.3% beyond the arc.
Las Vegas made 20 of 23 free throws while New York went 8 for 16.
The Liberty outscored the Aces 12-2 on the fast break.
Plum scored a playoff career-high 29 points and tied her playoff career-high with 5 made 3-pointers. It was the third time she has made 5 threes in a game this postseason, and marked the 6th time this year she’s made 5 or more 3s in a game.
There have now been 17 5-game series in WNBA postseason history in which one team has won the first 2 games. All 17 of those teams have gone on to win the series—14 via a sweep, 3 in 4 games, and 1 who got pushed to a decisive Game 5.
Wilson collected her 17th playoff double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds), which ranks 7th in W playoff history.
Wilson (16 points) has scored in double figures 31 of 36 playoff games.
Las Vegas remains in Brooklyn for Game 4, which will tip at 5 pm PT on October 18 on ESPN. If there is a Game 5, it will be played in Las Vegas on October 20.