The Las Vegas Aces have become the first team in 21 years to win back-to-back championships in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). In Game 4 of the Finals, the Aces defeated the New York Liberty 70-69 on Wednesday night to secure their second consecutive title.
A’ja Wilson was instrumental in the victory, scoring 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. The Aces’ defense also played a crucial role, making a defensive stop in the closing seconds of the game.
With this achievement, the Las Vegas Aces joined the Los Angeles Sparks (2001-02) and the Houston Comets (1997-2000) as the only teams in WNBA history to win back-to-back championships.
Despite being without starters Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes due to foot injuries sustained in Game 3, the Aces managed to secure the win. Gray, who was named the 2022 WNBA Finals MVP, provided support and encouragement to her teammates from the sideline. Additionally, the Aces were still missing veteran Candace Parker, who underwent foot surgery in late July.
Alysha Clark, who was thrust into the starting lineup in place of the injured players, emphasized the team’s resilience and ability to overcome adversity throughout the season. She praised the team’s chemistry and unity in reaching this momentous achievement.
A’ja Wilson received the Finals MVP honors for her outstanding performance in this year’s championship series. Despite finishing third in the regular-season MVP voting, Wilson proved her prowess on the court during the Finals.
In a tightly contested game, the Aces took a 68-64 lead with just over two minutes remaining. New York had an opportunity to tie the game, but Breanna Stewart’s three-pointer rimmed out. Wilson countered with a tough turnaround shot to extend the Aces’ lead to 70-64 with 1:26 left on the clock. Despite New York’s efforts to come back, the Aces managed to hold on for the victory.
Courtney Vandersloot was the leading scorer for the Liberty with 19 points, while Betnijah Laney added 15 points to their tally.
Throughout the game, the Aces utilized various defensive strategies, which limited New York’s scoring after a strong start. Alysha Clark and Cayla George, who replaced the injured starters, played important roles in containing the opposing team. Clark held her former Seattle Storm teammate, Breanna Stewart, to just 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting, while George contributed 11 points.
This game marked the first closely contested match between the Aces and the Liberty this season. The four regular-season meetings between the teams were all decisive victories, with the closest game resulting in a nine-point win for New York on August 28. The first three games of the WNBA Finals were also one-sided, with New York winning Game 3 by a significant margin (87-73) to avoid elimination.
Game 4 was so intense that Sabrina Ionescu of the Liberty was seen vomiting into a trash can during a timeout in the fourth quarter. Despite this, she returned to the court and continued playing.