Aces beat Sun in tight outing to take home their first WNBA championship


Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons

The Las Vegas Aces win their first WNBA championship in franchise history

Elena Jay, Crier Staff

The people of Las Vegas have finally gotten to witness a victory that they have wanted for a very long time. On Sunday afternoon, of September 18, the Las Vegas Aces squeezed a win out of a tight, nail-biter game against the Connecticut Sun, taking home the WNBA Championship trophy. Not only did the Aces capture the WNBA Championship for the first time in franchise history, but they also became the first professional sports team in the Las Vegas area to capture a championship title.  

Both teams had come flying into the final round. The Sun, who were also looking for their first WNBA Championship title in club history, had to work their way through the playoffs to get to where they were. They defeated the Dallas Wings 2-1 in the quarterfinals and then also eliminated the defending WNBA champions, Chicago Sky, 3-1 in the semifinals. The Aces came into the finals with a sweeping 3-0 against the Phoenix Mercury in the quarterfinals, and the latest 3-1 victory over the Seattle Storm.  

Early in the series, the Aces took a dominant 2-0 lead against the Sun. Playing in front of their fans at Michelob Ultra Area, they outscored the Sun 152 to 135. As the location of the series switches to Mohegan Sun Arena, the Sun stepped up their game. Playing in front of their friends in Uncasville, Connecticut, the team split the Aces lead in half, beating them 105-76 in the third game of the series.  

With the Sun slowly gaining momentum as they headed into game 4 of the 5-game series, the Ace knew they’d have to find the win to put an end to the season once and for all. Amongst the cheers from Sun fans, the fourth game began. Throughout the first half of the game, both teams were having difficulty finding their game. The first half was described as rugged, with both teams each having a scoreless drought spanning about 5 minutes long. As the second half came around, both teams finally settled into the game, finding their rhythm and turning the half into an intense but enjoyable viewing experience for fans.  

The score was still tight as ever as precious seconds were ticking off the clock in the fourth quarter. The Aces were trying to hold on to a six-point lead and close out the game. However, Connecticut wasn’t about to give the game away to Las Vegas. The Suns were able to steal back five points after earning the flagrant foul on standout shooting guard DeWanna Bonner. Not only did they end up catching back up with the Aces, but they managed to pull slightly ahead of them with 2:22 left in regulation. However, Las Vegas wasn’t about to let their opponents out-muscle them from the chance of winning the championship trophy. Standout point guard Riquna Williams lit up the fourth quarter, scoring banger after banger. Williams totaled 17 points during the final game of the WNBA season.  

While Williams was a key player during game four of the finals, the Aces relied on many other players to help them reach their end goal. Chelsea Gray, another one of their point guards, led the team in points during the postseason, capturing 20. Gray was also named the most valuable player of the finals. Many other players gave them an advantage not only in the finals, but in the regular season as well. Four Aces were named All-Stars (A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, and Dearica Hamby). Plum was voted M.V.P. of the All-Star Game, Wilson was named defensive player of the year and received her second league M.V.P. award, and head coach Becky Hammond, in just her first season as head coach, was named coach of the year by the WNBA.

 Looking at the roster of the championship-winning team, it’s no surprise that they were considered the best of the best in the league. Combining the roster with the unbelievable determination, drive, and passion that the players showed not only throughout the final series, but also throughout the season, proves why the Aces were able to come out on top and snag their first WNBA Championship trophy.