The champ is here! After a long, hard WNBA season, we officially have a champion. The Las Vegas Aces are the 2022 WNBA champions after beating the Connecticut Sun 78-71.
The Aces finished the regular season with a record of 26-10. This led to them becoming the first seed of the WNBA playoffs. After taking on teams like the Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm, they reached the finals to face the Sun, who beat the Chicago Sky in an upset.
The series between the Aces and Sun started off with Las Vegas taking a 67-64 win over Connecticut. Aces star forward A’ja Wilson finished with 24 points, while her teammate Chelsea Gray had 21. Aces guard (and 3-point threat) Kelsey Plum struggled in this game and finished with six points.
Las Vegas took home Game 1, and after a bigger win in Game 2 (where they beat the Sun 85-71), Vegas traveled to Connecticut in hopes of closing out the series. But the Sun had other plans. The Sun came out strong in Game 3, and managed to shoot 84 percent from the field in the first quarter. They also had the highest-scoring quarter in the entire postseason by scoring 34 points. The Sun was lights out in Game 3, and their defensive intensity gave the Aces problems. And it was the efforts from Alyssa Thomas (who had the first triple-double in WNBA Finals history), Jonquel Jones and DeWanna Bonner that helped the Sun beat the Aces 105-76. The Sun lived to fight another day, and as they hosted the Aces, they looked to extend the series. However, the Aces had championship aspirations.
The Aces won Sunday’s game after noteworthy performances from Chelsea Gray and Riquana Williams. Gray finished with 20 points, six assists and five rebounds. Williams finished with 17 points off the bench and made five 3-pointers, which were especially crucial towards the end of the game.
The Las Vegas Aces are now champions for the first time in franchise history. They made it to the WNBA Finals in 2020 (where they lost to Seattle) and they just missed the finals in 2021 after losing to the Phoenix Mercury in the Conference Finals. Now, Wilson and company can add champion to their list of accolades.
After a stellar playoff performance, Gray took home Finals MVP. Gray was red-hot in the playoffs and in the biggest game of the year, she helped her team get the win. This is one of many accolades for the Aces this year, as Wilson took home MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, Plum won All-Star MVP, head coach and WNBA Becky Hammond won Coach of the Year and Jackie Young won Most Improved Player. The Aces also won the Commissioner’s Cup earlier in the season.
The Las Vegas Aces had quite the year and after a dominant season, they can call themselves champions.