The Las Vegas Aces became the first team in 21 years to win back-to-back WNBA championships, getting 24 points and 16 rebounds from A’ja Wilson and a defensive stop in the closing seconds to beat the New York Liberty 70-69 in Game 4 of the Finals on Wednesday night.
The Aces joined the Los Angeles Sparks (2001-02) and the Houston Comets (1997-2000) as the only teams in league history to win consecutive titles.
Las Vegas did it without starters Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes, who were both sidelined with foot injuries suffered in Game 3. Gray, the 2022 WNBA Finals MVP, was constantly in the ear of her teammates during timeouts and shouting encouragement from the sideline.
Wilson won MVP honors this year.
With the game tied at 64, Jackie Young scored four straight points to give the Aces a 68-64 advantage with 2:04 left.
Breanna Stewart got an open look at 3 but the shot rimmed out. Wilson then hit a tough turnaround shot with 1:26 left to give the Aces a 70-64 advantage.
Courtney Vandersloot hit a 3-pointer on New York’s next possession, then stole the ball from Kelsey Plum, which led to Sabrina Ionescu’s foul-line jumper to get the Liberty within one with 41.7 left.
On the ensuing possession, Las Vegas worked the shot clock down before coach Becky Hammon called timeout with 3 seconds left on the shot clock. The Aces got the ball to Wilson on a lob, but Stewart blocked the shot, giving New York one last chance.
After a timeout with 8.8 seconds left, the Liberty got the ball to Stewart, who was double-teamed. The ball swung over to Vandersloot in the corner, but her shot missed badly, setting off a wild celebration by the Aces at midcourt.
Vandersloot finished with 19 points and Betnijah Laney added 15 for New York.