Liberty followers have waited 27 seasons for a W.N.B.A. title, and on Friday night time, it confirmed. The ambiance at Barclays Middle was electrical for New York’s opening postseason sport in opposition to the Washington Mystics.
Followers waved white playoff towels, booed each name that didn’t go their means and cheered for every superstar featured on the scoreboard, together with Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner; the tennis nice Billie Jean King; and Teresa Weatherspoon, the previous Liberty star. Members of the workforce’s N.B.A. counterparts, the Brooklyn Nets, had been additionally in attendance to assist the Liberty “Mild It Up.”
These followers had been rewarded with a Liberty win, 90-75, behind 29 factors from Sabrina Ionescu and 20 from Jonquel Jones. The sport began as a tense back-and-forth affair, however the Liberty took a slender lead into halftime, and so they by no means relinquished it. Ionescu set a postseason franchise report with seven 3-pointers within the sport.
After the Liberty wrapped up the common season with a 32-8 report, expectations had been excessive that they may take the championship. They’re seeded second within the playoffs, with the Las Vegas Aces seeded first.
A win on Tuesday in Brooklyn, in Sport 2 of this best-of-three sequence in opposition to the Mystics, would ship the Liberty to the semifinals — and get them one step nearer to that elusive title.