Riquna Williams, who had just twice this postseason scored in double figures, was counted on heavily by the Las Vegas Aces in order to win the title by a squad that had some of the most prominent players in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
After Williams made one tremendous shot after another in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the championships, she put her index finger to her lips to hush the white-knuckled supporters of the Connecticut Sun. Williams was playing in the finals for the first time. The final of her 17 points came on a jumper that she took with her back to the basket and just inside the 3-point line. The shot went through Natisha Hiedeman’s extended arms.
On Sunday, the Aces won their first W.N.B.A. championship by defeating the Sun by a score of 78-71 to claim the title. The Aces’ performance in the playoffs reflected the regular-season domination that lead them to tie Chicago for the best record in the league.
The Aces had a lead of as much as ten points at one point but were forced to stave off numerous frantic comeback attempts by the Sun before securing Las Vegas’s third victory in the best-of-five series and claiming the championship in the game’s closing minutes. The most valuable player award for the finals went to Chelsea Gray, who led the Aces in scoring with 20 points and was awarded most valuable player.
Gray felt upset as she spoke, and as her colleagues clapped for her, she remarked, “I fought so hard for this.”
Throughout the whole season, Gray and the stacked roster of the Aces kept Las Vegas one step ahead of the rest of the league. Plum was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game, and she was one of the four Aces who were picked to the All-Star team: A’ja Wilson, Jackie Young, Dearica Hamby, and Plum. Wilson was recognised as the best defensive player in the league and was awarded her second league Most Valuable Player award. Becky Hammon was honoured as the league’s coach of the year despite the fact that this was just her first year with the squad.
Before Game 4, Williams had never scored more than 14 points in a game during the regular season. However, he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter in Game 4. On Sunday, Wilson was only able to score 11 points thanks to the defence of the Sun, which was her third-lowest scoring performance of the playoffs.
Hammon said, “I have a bunch of incredibly resilient players,” and continued by saying, “You saw different guys come up at various stages tonight, and that’s what makes us tough to defeat.”
The Aces have finished second overall in the standings every year except one over the last three campaigns, despite having the best regular-season record in two of those three campaigns. In the finals of the 2020 season, the Seattle Storm easily defeated them. Its star-studded lineup seemed to have been too great for its own good. The Aces’ finest players often relied on the kind of isolation basketball in which they excelled, but this strategy prevented the Aces from winning titles.
Gray gained a lot from that particular experience.
During the time when Hammon was leading the Aces to the top seed, she reported seeing flashes of the type of play that had prevented the Aces from ever winning a championship. However, all of that changed when the Aces defeated the Storm in the semifinals. After the game, Hammon claimed that the players had started “choosing each other” and had learned how to “take a punch.”
Hammon expressed her gratitude to Laimbeer for bringing together the squad and lauded the efforts of her teammates.