Photo Courtesy of Lucas Peltier/USA Today Sports
The Las Vegas Aces have made history. The Aces defeated the New York Liberty 70-69 to become the 2023 WNBA champions. After winning the first two games of the series, the Liberty picked up a win on their home floor to avoid the sweep. The Liberty had a chance to tie the series, but a tough defensive possession from the Aces helped Las Vegas secure the win. They won the series 3-1, and have cemented their place in WNBA history.
The Aces are the first team since the Los Angeles Sparks to win back-to-back championships. The Lisa Leslie led Sparks won back-to-back in 2001 and 2002. Before that the Houston Comets dominated and won four consecutive championships. They were the first champions in WNBA history (when they won in 1997) and after that, they won from 1998 to 2000. Cynthia Cooper was the Finals MVP in all of their wins.
Las Vegas had an excellent regular season. They finished the season with a record of 34-6. The Aces managed to play well throughout the season (and postseason), even with a few obstacles. Candace Parker, who joined the Aces in the offseason, underwent foot surgery in July, and missed a good portion of the season. Most recently, Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes suffered injuries, and missed Game 4 of the Finals. The Aces made adjustments and managed to win.
Aces star A’Ja Wilson took home the Finals MVP. Wilson averaged 21.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game during the Finals, and in Thursday’s game, she finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds. This win marks the first Finals MVP of her career. The young player already has an array of accolades under her belt, and this win adds to her legacy.
Wilson and the Aces celebrated their championship with a parade earlier this week, where she thanked the person who gave her a fourth place vote for MVP.
“Whoever you are that voted me 4th, thank you … ‘Cause that just means I got a lot more work to do, and we comin’ back.”
The Aces are your 2023 WNBA champions, and come next year, they will look to win another.