By: Jack Nevins
The Las Vegas Aces are crowned victorious for the second year in a row! The Las Vegas Aces win in 4 games over the New York Liberty. They are the first team in the WNBA to win back-to-back WNBA titles in 21 years. The Aces went 34 – 6 on the season with a .850 win percentage and securing the number 1 seed in the WNBA.
The Aces took game of the series, 99-82 at home in the recently built Michelob Ultra Arena. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young combined for 52, each putting up their playoff highs, 26 points. Chelsea Gray added on 9 assists, on her birthday. A special gift for her to show her passing skills in the finals. Plum was fired up over Grey’s passing and had this to say about her teammate “so whatever I gotta do to just get open, Chelsea’s gonna find me”. This win gave the Aces a six game win streak in the postseason, becoming the sixth WNBA to do so. The Liberty were led by none other than Breanna Steweart. Stewy led the Liberty with 21 points on 9 assists.
Marine Johannes put up 14 points off the bench, connecting on 4 shots beyond the arc. Vegas pulled away in the second half after trailing 49-46. They led by as much as 22 in the second half, going on a 9-0 run to seal the deal.
Game 2 belonged to the Aces once again. They steamrolled over the Liberty, winning 104-76, at home in Las Vegas. Four Aces players put up 20 plus points. A’ja Wilson connected for 26 points with 15 rebounds, on 10-16 from the field. Jackie Young recorded 24 points on 9-16 shooting from the field. Kelsey Plum put up 24 points on 7-14 from the field. Chelsea Gray, recorded a double-double, with 14 points and 11 boards. Although it was a blowout win for Las Vegas, the Liberty still put up respectable numbers on the board. Brenna Stewart recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, leading the team in rebounds. Jonquel Jones led the team in points, putting up 22 on 8-12 shooting from the field. Game 2 did not go the way the Liberty wanted against the high powered Vegas offense.
Game 3 at home for the Liberty, changed the momentum of this series. The Liberty stunned the Aces, winning this contest 87-73. Four Liberty starters put up 10+ points. Notably, Breanna Stewert recorded a back-to-back double-double, with 20 points and 12 boards. Jonquel Jones recorded 27 points with 8 boards on 10-15 from the field. The Aces struggled throughout the road matchup. Plum and Wilson led the charge, Plum with 29 points, and Wilson with 16 points and 11 boards, another double-double. The Aces lost their star, Chelsea Gray with a leg injury that ruled her out for the remainder of the game. The Liberty gained control after Stewart blocked Wilson and dished the rock to Jones to hit from beyond the arc. A massive win at home for the Liberty, but can they hold on at home for one more game?
A nail-biter in the Barclays Center, for game four. The Las Vegas Aces took down the New York Liberty on their home turf 70-69. A’ja Wilson, once again standing out for the Aces, putting up 24 points with 16 rebounds on 11-21 from the field. Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot led the way for the Liberty. Stewart with a double-double, 10 points and 14 rebounds. Vandersloot with 19 points on 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Aces became the third WNBA team to win back-to-back titles. To no surprise, A’ja Wilson was named WNBA Finals MVP, with outstanding performances in all contests. Finishing strong and pulling out a much needed win on the road in Brooklyn, helped secure the Aces another world championship.