LAS VEGAS (October 11, 2023)—The Las Vegas Aces led from wire-to-wire in dominating fashion Wednesday night, and are one win away from becoming the first back-to-back champions in 21 years after downing the New York Liberty 104-76 in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals. It was a true team effort that saw A’ja Wilson lead with 26 points and 15 rebounds; Jackie Young finish with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists; Kelsey Plum contribute 23 points and 8 assists; Chelsea Gray record her first Finals double-double with 14 points and 11 assists; and Kiah Stokes score a 2023-high 8 points and grab 7 boards. Jonquel Jones led the Liberty with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 38, New York 19)
The Aces roared out to a 19-2 lead over the first 4 minutes of the game and went up by as many as 21 points before the quarter ended. Wilson scored 12 points and Plum had 9, while Gray dished out 4 of the team’s 12 assists. Breanna Stewart scored 7 for New York. The Aces made 70% of their shots from the field and 60% from distance, while holding the Liberty to 30% of their field goal attempts and 20% from afar.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 52, New York 44)
After an Aces 3 opened the second quarter for a 22-point, 41-19 advantage, the Liberty outscored the Aces 13-4, closing to 45-32 at 5:14. The Aces scored the next 5 points, however, the Liberty held the Aces scoreless over the next 4:17, while putting up 12-straight points. An Alysha Clark layup halted the skid with 3 seconds before halftime and sent Las Vegas to the locker room up 52-44. Jones scored 16 points in the second quarter, while Gray’s 4 led the Aces. The Liberty shot 45% to the Aces 37.5% from the floor and went 4 of 6 from the line while the Aces didn’t take any shots from the charity stripe. The Liberty also outrebounded the Aces 13-8.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 80, New York 57)
Wilson (8 points) and Young (9) combined for all the Aces points in a 17-3 second-half opening run that put the game virtually out of reach, 69-47, with 4:40 on the clock. Young finished with 11 points and Wilson had 10. No New York player scored more than 3. The Aces shot 57.9% and the Liberty just 31.2% from the floor. The Aces outrebounded the Liberty 12-7. The Aces committed just 1 turnover for 0 points, while the Liberty had 4, from which the Aces scored 8.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 104, New York 76)
Led by 6 points apiece from Plum and Young, the Aces outscored the Liberty 24-19 in the final frame. Courtney Vandersloot had 9 for the Liberty. The Aces hit 40% of their field goal attempts and made 50% from 3-point range, while the Liberty were held to 37.5% overall and 12.5% from distance.
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The Aces connected on 52.9% of their field goal attempts and 44.8% from distance, while the Liberty shot 36.1% overall and 22.9% beyond the arc.
Las Vegas made a perfect 17 of 17 free throws while New York went 16 for 22.
The Aces outscored the Liberty 11-3 on the fast break.
Each team got 9 points from their respective bench players, after New York outscored Las Vegas 17-8 in Game 1.
The Aces lead the best-of-5 series 2-0 which has historically been an insurmountable advantage. There have been 17 5-game series in WNBA postseason history in which one team has won the first 2 games. All 17 of those teams have gone on to win the series—13 via a sweep, 3 in 4 games, and 1 who got pushed to a decisive Game 5.
The Aces’ 104 points is a franchise record for points in a Finals game, eclipsing the record of 99 points scored against the Liberty in Game 1 of the 2023 Finals.
7 teams in Finals history have been perfect from the line (minimum 10 attempts). The Aces 17 of 17 were the most made and attempted (16-16 FTs, Chicago vs Phoenix on Sept. 7, 2014 and Indiana vs Minnesota on Oct. 4, 2015).
The 38 points scored in the first quarter by the Aces set a new WNBA finals mark for the first quarter in a Finals game (34, Connecticut vs. Las Vegas, September 15, 2022), and the second-most by any team in a quarter in Finals history (39, Detroit vs. Phoenix, September 5, 2007).
The 14 made field goals by the Aces in the first quarter tied the single-quarter Finals record, which has been achieved 3 times in the past (Indiana at Phoenix, September 29, 2009; Los Angeles vs. Minnesota, October 14, 2016; Connecticut vs. Las Vegas, September 15, 2022).
The 12 assists by the Aces in the first quarter tied the single-quarter Finals record set by Connecticut against Las Vegas on September 15, 2022.
The Aces have won 8-straight playoff games, which is tied for the 3rd longest streak in WNBA history (9, Los Angeles, 2001-2002; Minnesota, 2013-2014).
Gray, who collected her 4th playoff double-double (14 points, 11 assists) set the franchise Finals single-game assists record (10, Danielle Robinson vs Seattle, Oct. 4, 2020).
Wilson collected her 16th playoff double-double (26 points, 15 rebounds), which ranks tied for 7th in W playoff history with DeWanna Bonner.
Wilson (26 points) has scored in double figures 30 of 35 playoff games, including 20+ points 16 times.
Gray moved into 5th place in the WNBA’s career postseason assists chart with 11 dimes today, and she now has 263 for her playoff career. She is also now tied for 2nd in WNBA history for most assists in the finals with 87. This marked the 7th time Gray dished out 9 or more assists in a playoff game.
The WNBA Finals moves to New York for Game 3 on October 15. If necessary, Game 4 will be played in New York on October 18 and if there is a Game 5, it will be played in Las Vegas on October 20.