BROOKLYN, NY (October 18, 2023)—The Las Vegas Aces fought through every bit of adversity thrown at them all season and in the end, came out on top as 2023 WNBA champions. The team lost their Point Gawd and starting center in Game 3, but rallied for a 70-69 victory in Game 4 in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. 2023 Finals M’VP A’ja Wilson led the attack with 24 points and 16 rebounds, Jackie Young scored 16 points and passed out 7 assists, Cayla George tied her 2023 high of 11 points and Alysha Clark contributed 10 points and 8 boards. Courtney Vandersloot scored 19 points to lead four Liberty players who scored in double figures.
First Quarter Highlights (New York 23, Las Vegas 13)
The Aces held a 9-5 lead early, but back-to-back 3s launched a 16-2 Liberty run for a 21-11 lead. The Liberty closed the quarter up 23-13. The Aces shot 37.5% from the field, but just 25% from 3-point, while the Liberty hit 36.8% of their field goal attempts and went 4 of 7 from distance. Vandersloot led the Liberty with 9 points and Clark and Wilson had 4 apiece for the Aces. Las Vegas gave up 7 points on 8 turnovers and scored just 2 on 4 Liberty miscues.
Second Quarter Highlights (New York 39, Las Vegas 30)
The Aces notched the first 5 points of the quarter and outscored the Liberty 15-6 in all, in closing the gap to 29-28 with just under 4 minutes to play before half. The Liberty responded with a 10-2 spurt for a 39-30 halftime score. George, Wilson and Plum scored 5 apiece, while the Liberty’s Betnijah Laney had 4. The Aces netted 6 of 11 from 2-point range, but went 1 of 8 from distance, while the Liberty shot 7 of 17 overall and 2 of 7 from 3-point.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 52, New York 51)
After the Liberty increased their lead to 44-32 early in the third, George hit a pair of 3s in a 10-2 Aces run to pull back to 46-42. After a 5-2 Liberty spurt, the Aces reeled off 9-straight points over the final 1:43 to take a 53-51 lead with 10 minutes to play. The Aces hit 50% of their field goal attempts while limiting the Liberty to 25% of theirs. Wilson had 9 points and 6 rebounds, while the Liberty were led by 5 from Sabrina Ionescu.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 70, New York 69)
The Aces led by as many as 7 and never trailed in the final stanza. After the third knotted score, 64-all at 2:44, the Aces scored the next 6 points for a 70-64 lead with 1:27 to play. The Liberty scored the next 5 points but were unable to push the series to Game 5. Young scored 9 for the Aces and 2 players had 5 each for the Liberty.
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The Aces were held to 41.8% of their field goal attempts and 23.8% from distance, while the Liberty shot 36.1% overall and 34.6% from beyond the arc.
Las Vegas made 9 of 11 free throws while New York went 8 for 12.
The Aces dominated the paint, outscoring the Liberty 44-24.
The Liberty outscored the Aces 17-4 on the fast break and the teams were an even 7-7 on second chances.
New York held a 39-38 edge on the glass.
There have now been 18 5-game series in WNBA postseason history in which one team has won the first 2 games. All 18 of those teams have gone on to win the series—14 via a sweep, 4 in 4 games, and 1 who got pushed to a decisive Game 5.
Wilson collected her 18th playoff double-double (24 points, 16 rebounds), which is tied for 5th in W playoff history.
In addition to Candace Parker, who has been out since after the July 7 loss to Dallas, the Aces were without the services of Chelsea Gray (left foot) and Kiah Stokes (right foot) for the first time this season.
The Aces will celebrate their back-to-back WNBA championships with a parade on Monday, Oct. 23. Details to come.