The Las Vegas Aces have once again claimed the prestigious title of WNBA champions. The team faced a challenging situation as they were without their star point guard Chelsea Gray and starting center Kiah Stokes. However, they persevered through the adversity and secured a thrilling 70-69 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night. This victory has made them the first team since the 2001-2002 Los Angeles Sparks to achieve back-to-back wins. A’ja Wilson was recognized as the Finals MVP, marking her first career win.
It was no surprise when the Liberty took a commanding double-digit lead against the Aces, who were missing key players. For the majority of the first 25 minutes, the Liberty were in control. However, towards the end of the third quarter, the Aces mounted an impressive comeback, taking the lead going into the final frame. The momentum from their late-game surge carried them through the fourth quarter, securing them a hard-fought victory.
The Aces started strong, leading by seven points before the Liberty made a comeback and tied the game with just under three minutes left. However, the Aces didn’t let the pressure get to them and they responded with a 6-0 run. With 1:27 remaining, A’ja Wilson gave them a six-point lead, making it seem like they had secured the win. But things didn’t go exactly as planned and the game turned into a nail-biter.
With the game on the line, Courtney Vandersloot stepped up and drained a clutch 3-pointer right after the timeout. She then delivered a stellar defensive play, stealing the ball from Kelsey Plum, which ultimately set up a jumper by Sabrina Ionescu. Suddenly, the Liberty had cut the deficit to just one point at 70-69, leaving the fans on the edge of their seats. The team’s momentum continued as they made another crucial stop on the other end, giving them the ball back with a chance to seal the win.
The Aces were determined to secure their victory and weren’t going to let it slip away. With Alysha Clark guarding Breanna Stewart and Jackie Young ready to pounce, the league MVP was unable to make her way to the basket. Stewart passed the ball to Betnijah Laney who tried to find an open Courtney Vandersloot in the corner but her pass was not precise enough. Despite Vandersloot’s efforts to gather the ball and take a shot, it was a rushed attempt and missed the mark by a long shot.
Despite being considered underdogs in the game, the Aces pulled off a stunning victory thanks to their grit, tenacity, and championship experience. Wilson’s spectacular performance of 24 points and 16 rebounds was instrumental in securing the win, while Jackie Young’s 16 points and seven assists, including crucial fourth-quarter buckets, also contributed significantly. Even Cayla George, who had only played 17 minutes in the postseason before Game 4, stepped up and made three 3-pointers and 11 points to help seal the victory.
It is a devastating end to what has been a thrilling season for the Liberty. Despite having numerous opportunities to secure the win, they failed to capitalize on open shots, including several layups. The postseason was particularly rough for Stewart, who had a dismal shooting performance, only managing to hit 3 out of 17 field goal attempts. The team as a whole struggled, shooting at a mere 36.1% and committing 13 turnovers. It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Liberty and their fans alike.
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