Joe Paige | Sports Editor
The Las Vegas Aces are right back where they left off last season, successfully defending their championship as they defeat The New York Liberty and earn back-to-back rings. Since the start of the season these two teams were projected to make it to the finals, which both teams did, but only one would cement themselves as the true super team in the league. It would ultimately be the Aces collection of talent, and composure that carried them to become the WNBA's first repeat champions in over 20 years.
Even without the services of their starters Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes in Game 4, the Aces still were able to outlast the New York Liberty for a 70-69 win. The Las Vegas Aces join the Houston Comets (1997-2000) and Los Angeles Sparks (2001-02) as the only franchises to win multiple championships in a row.
After Chelsea Gray suffered that leg injury in game 3, everybody assumed it would be smooth sailing for The Liberty. Once New York opened game 4 with an early double-digit lead and would then push their lead back to 12 in the third quarter, it felt like we were getting ready for game 5. However, The Liberty's offense turned ice cold from that point on, and the Aces were able to fight back and capture the lead.
Aces forward A'ja Wilson, coming off a regular season with back-to-back DPOYs, got named Finals MVP. Capping off a tremendous postseason run, she would finish game 4 with 24 points and 16 rebounds. She averaged 21.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in the Finals.
As for New York, The Liberty ultimately falls short after a blockbuster offseason of recruitment. The Liberty acquired Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, and Jonquel Jones, who all together combined for 13 All-Star appearances and two MVPs among them. They still should expect to be a formidable force in the East next year, hopefully this postseason run gives them the experience they need to finally get to where they want to be.
Vegas now enters next season as the strongest and definitive super team in the league. It’s no surprise that they plan on retaining as much of this core as they can, but barring any dramatic changes to either their roster, they enter next season already as the favorites to win the championship once again.