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Jones’ double-double helps Liberty tie series

After being caught by surprise by the Connecticut Sun in Game One on Sunday, Bahamian women’s professional basketball player Jonquel ‘JJ’ Jones and the New York Liberty bounced back to tie the best-of-five semifinal series at 1-1 with an 84-77 victory at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday night.

Playing against her former team, Jones came away with 11 points and 13 rebounds to help her team get the victory. She went 5-for-12 from the field, shooting 41.7 percent in 37 minutes on the floor. She also came away with two assists and one blocked shot.

The Liberty was led by shooting guard Sabrina Ionescu who had 21 points. All five starters scored in double digits. The Sun’s Tiffany Hayes led all scorers with 30 points as the Liberty held Alyssa Thomas at bay with just 10 points.

It was a close game heading into the fourth quarter with the Liberty holding a slim 59-57 advantage. The Liberty’s Courtney Vandersloot and Hayes traded long bombs to put the score at 62-60 in favor of Liberty with 9:27 left in the quarter.

After that point, the game swung in the Liberty’s favor as they went on a 5-0 scoring run to go up 67-60 with 8:21 left in the fourth period. That lead turned to 10 points at the 7:07 mark on a Breanna Stewart three point shot as they led 72-62. It was the Liberty’s largest lead of the game and the Sun called a timeout.

The Sun came within five points at the 3:50 mark with the Liberty leading 75-70. That quickly went back up to 10 points at the 2:55 mark. The Sun got the lead back down to five points, but the Liberty kept finding ways to score points to keep the game out of reach. They avoided going into a 0-2 hole with the series heading to Uncasville, Connecticut.

Jones was most effective in scoring in the first quarter where she scored nine of the Liberty’s 16 points. She shot 4-for-5 in that period. It was a hot start for the Sun in the second quarter as they stretched a 22-16 lead after one to 30-18 with 7:10 left in that quarter. The first half ended with the Sun up 42-38.

The Liberty picked up the slack in the second half. They out-rebounded the Sun 37-31 and shot the ball better from the field 44.6 percent to 39.7 percent.

Jones is having a strong postseason, having put up a double-double in all four of her games. She has 10 offensive boards at an average of 3.5 offensive boards, which have been key for her team. She is shooting 56.1 percent from the field and averaging 16 points, 12.5 rebounds and 35.5 minutes per game. She is also averaging two blocks and two assists per game.

Before the game, Stewart lifted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy for her performance throughout the season. She beat out Thomas and the Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson.

The pivotal third game of the series is set for the tomorrow night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. That game tips off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.