The Las Vegas Aces clinched their second consecutive WNBA title by defeating the New York Liberty with a final score of 70-69 in Game 4 of the 2023 WNBA Finals on Wednesday.
This victory makes the Aces the first team to achieve back-to-back championships since the Los Angeles Sparks accomplished the feat in 2001-2002.
Despite playing without guard Chelsea Gray and center Kiah Stokes, both of whom suffered foot injuries in Game 3, the Aces triumphed. Aces forward A’ja Wilson was the standout player, amassing a game-high 24 points and 16 rebounds, while guard Jackie Young contributed 16 points and seven assists to the victory.
The New York Liberty, led by 2023 MVP forward Breanna Stewart and guard Sabrina Ionescu, started strong, taking a 23-13 lead over the Aces at the end of the first quarter. However, Las Vegas made a strong comeback.
In the final moments of the fourth quarter, with the Aces trailing by just one point, Liberty guard Courtney Vandersloot had an opportunity to force a decisive Game 5 and send the series back to Las Vegas with a buzzer-beater, but her shot missed. This miss led to Aces players celebrating their victory at midcourt in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“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.”