A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces secured their place as one of the greatest teams in WNBA history.
The Aces became the first team to repeat as champions in 21 years, getting 24 points and 16 rebounds from 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.
“It’s not easy, as you know. This is what it’s all about,” Wilson said. “Not a lot of people get to do it. To be short-handed and win is amazing. It makes the win that much better. It’s hard to get back to the Finals to win again.”
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. Las Vegas was also still missing veteran Candace Parker, who had foot surgery in late July.
“We’ve been facing adversity all season, playing without different players. … We have some professional fighters,” said Alysha Clark, who was pressed into the starting lineup Wednesday. “To weather the storm of everything we went through, to show up every single day. To be in this moment right now and do it together, it speaks volumes about us, our chemistry.”