Las Vegas Aces become WNBA’s 1st repeat champions in 21 years
The Las Vegas Aces defeated the New York Liberty 70-69 in Game 4 of the 2023 WNBA Finals to win the franchise’s second consecutive title on Wednesday.
With the win, the Aces became the first team to repeat as champions since the Los Angeles Sparks did so in 2001-2002.
Las Vegas played without guard Chelsea Gray and center Kiah Stokes, who both suffered foot injuries in Game 3. But that was no problem as Aces forward A’ja Wilson scored a game-high 24 points and 16 rebounds and guard Jackie Young added 16 points and seven assists in the victory.
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The Liberty, led by 2023 MVP forward Breanna Stewart and guard Sabrina Ionescu, got off to a hot start on Wednesday, leading the Aces 23-13 after the first quarter. But Las Vegas came storming back into the game.
With 8.8 seconds left in the fourth and down one, Liberty guard Courtney Vandersloot had a chance to send the series back to Las Vegas and force a decisive Game 5 with a buzzer-beater but missed. With that miss, Aces players celebrated the victory at midcourt at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilson was named the WNBA Finals MVP and thanked her teammates for helping her “find her strength” during the series.
“We leaned on each other so much at this time,” Wilson told the ESPN broadcast. “We fought through so much adversity throughout the season. … We came out on top. I can’t express how proud I am of my teammates. They picked me up when I was down. We cried together. We prayed together and now we are popping champagne together!”
Aces head coach Becky Hammon said she was confident in her team because she “knew who she had in the locker room.”
“There’s not a person out here I don’t believe in,” Hammon added. “I know what they are made of and at the end of the day I told them, ‘Win or lose, I am rolling with them.’ I am rolling with them all day.”