The Aces Are Back-To-Back Champions After A Thrilling Comeback Win Over The Liberty In Game 4

The Las Vegas Aces were heading back home no matter what after Wednesday night’s Game 4 of the WNBA Finals. All that needed to be decided was whether or not they’d be heading back for a parade or a Game 5 against the New York Liberty with the right to call themselves champions on the line. After 40 minutes of ball, we got the answer, and despite injuries to Kiah Stokes and Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas was able to pick up a 70-69 win to go back-to-back as WNBA champions.

The Aces looked like their injuries were going to catch up to them throughout the first half. While they battled admirably early on, New York was able to establish a lead thanks to an 18-4 run at the end of the first quarter, and whenever it looked like Las Vegas was going to chip away at the lead and ultimately take it, the Liberty had an answer.

Thanks to brilliant first half performances by Courtney Vandersloot and Betnijah Laney, New York took a 39-30 lead into the locker room. It did not look like they’d have that much breathing room, though, as the Aces got the lead down to one before the Liberty scored eight points over the final 90 seconds of the half.

And then, in the third quarter, Wilson took over. While she had a good first half — she brought nine points and eight rebounds into the locker room — Wilson exploded for nine points and six boards in the third alone.

Wilson’s size and physicality were just too much for New York to handle, while Cayla George and Alysha Clark were also able to add some offensive firepower in the frame. While the Liberty led by as many as 12 in the third, the Aces just kept going at them, and thanks to a 9-0 run to end the quarter, Las Vegas took a 53-51 lead into the game’s final frame to move 10 minutes away from back-to-back titles.

In what sure seemed like a statement of intent, the Aces started the fourth on a 7-2 run, further extending their lead and putting them in control of their own destiny in front of a stunned crowd at the Barclays Center. But a cold spell by Las Vegas beget a run by New York, as the Liberty were able to go ahead thanks to a 9-2 run of their own.

Every basket by one team seemed to have a response from the other down the home stretch. And then, the Aces were just able to get some breathing room. After four straight points by Jackie Young to give Las Vegas a 4-point lead, Wilson did what she does best, going to work in the midpost and drilling a jumper with just under 90 seconds left.

A monster triple by Vandersloot out of a timeout got the lead back down to one possession. She picked Kelsey Plum’s pocket on the ensuing Aces trip down the floor, and Sabrina Ionescu hit a jumper from the free throw line to get the lead back down to one.

Becky Hammon had to call two timeouts — one before, one during — as the Aces tried to set something up. They got the look they wanted, as Wilson had an opportunity near the rim, but multiple New York defenders blocked her effort, setting up a chance where a bucket would give the Liberty a win.

New York got a near-perfect look, as the ball was inbounded to Breanna Stewart, the Aces over-rotated, and Vandersloot got a wide open look from three in the corner. But her effort couldn’t hit the rim, and Las Vegas earned their second title in a row as a result.

Wilson’s 24 points and 16 rebounds led the way for Las Vegas, while Young chipped in 16 points and seven assists. George had 11 points, Clark had 10, and while Plum had a bad shooting night (seven points on 2-for-12 shooting), she pitched in eight rebounds and five assists. For New York, Vandersloot had a 19-point, 7-rebounds, 6-assist night, while Laney went for 15. Like Plum, Stewart was able to have her fingerprints all over the game despite struggles from the field, as she had 10 points on 3-for-17 shooting with 14 rebounds, five assists, and two steals.