Aces Wild: Las Vegas wins first WNBA Championship over Sun

Las Vegas Aces (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Aces (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Aces won an electrifying Game 4 by a score of 78-71 on Sunday evening, beating the Connecticut Sun in four games to win the 2022 WNBA Championship.

It caps an incredible run for an incredible team all season long. The Aces won the Commissioner’s Cup and had the league’s best record, making them the number one seed in the playoffs. Head coach Becky Hammon won a title in her very first season as a WNBA head coach. Hammon, already a WNBA legend from her playing days, becomes the first former player to win a title as a head coach. She was also the first coach to win the title in their very first year as a head coach in the league.

“Point Gawd” Chelsea Gray won the WNBA Finals MVP award. Her 20 point, 5 rebound, 6 assist performance in Game 4 was last of many dominant performances from her in this year’s playoffs. Her play in the playoffs this season was truly historic and will go down in the record books.

WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson had 11 points and 14 rebounds in the game while Riquna Williams came alive late, scoring 17 points in the game after only scoring 11 combined points in Games 1 through 3. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young both scored in double figures as well.

Las Vegas had awards galore this year. League MVP A’ja Wilson also won Defensive Player of the Year and made the All-WNBA First Team. Kelsey Plum also got All-WNBA First Team honors. Jackie Young won the Most Improved Player award and Becky Hammon was the Coach of the Year.

Wilson is now a champion at every single level. She was a high school championship, an NCAA championship at South Carolina, an Olympic gold medal, and now is finally a WNBA champion.

The win will feel like redemption for an Aces team that suffered a crushing loss to end their season last year. Chelsea Gray said after the game on Sunday that “we didn’t like that feeling we had last year” after losing to the Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Semifinals last season.

It was a loss that A’ja Wilson has said was probably the most painful one of her entire career. It hung over the team all winter and throughout the lead up to this season. And all of that is not to mention that they got swept by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA Finals in the bubble in 2020. It has to feel great for those incredibly talented women to bounce back from that and win a championship.

Meanwhile, looking ahead to the future, the Aces have every one of their key players in line to be back next season. They will try to become the WNBA’s first repeat champion since 2001-02 when the Los Angeles Sparks did it.

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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich congratulated the Aces on their title after the game. Popovich, Becky Hammon’s mentor during her eight years as an assistant on his staff with the Spurs, said “they played the right way” and “were a true joy to watch.”