A’Ja Wilson, Aces move within a win of repeating WNBA title

Oct. 12 (UPI) — A’ja Wilson, the two-time MVP, showcased her dominance on both offense and defense in Game 2 of the 2023 WNBA Finals, leading the Las Vegas Aces to a commanding 104-76 victory over the New York Liberty.

With 26 points and 15 rebounds, Wilson’s exceptional performance puts the Aces on the verge of securing their second consecutive championship. If they succeed, they will become the first WNBA team to achieve this feat in over 20 years.

“We understand the importance of the moment,” stated Wilson during the ESPN broadcast. “We had to defend our home court and be prepared for whatever they threw at us.”

The Aces, who had the league’s best record with 34 wins this season, outperformed the Liberty in shooting percentage, scoring 52.9% compared to the Liberty’s 36.1%. Moreover, their 3-point shooting was particularly impressive, making 44.8% of their attempts compared to the Liberty’s 22.9%.

In addition to Wilson’s remarkable performance, the Aces contributed to their victory with 31 assists while committing only nine turnovers. Wilson scored 12 points in the first quarter alone and added another 10 in the third quarter.

Wilson displayed efficiency by converting 10 of her 16 field goal attempts, and she made all five of her free throws. Alongside her scoring, she also contributed three assists, a block, and a steal.

“A’ja has been absolutely outstanding,” praised Aces coach Becky Hammon. “She’s faced challenges and criticism throughout her career, but her efficiency on both ends of the court has been remarkable.”

In the game, Aces guard Jackie Young also had an impressive performance with 24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Kelsey Plum contributed 23 points and eight assists, while Chelsea Gray chipped in with 14 points and 11 assists.

For the Liberty, WNBA MVP Award winner Breanna Stewart performed admirably with 14 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Forward Jonquel Jones, the 2021 WNBA MVP, recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The Liberty had an impressive regular season, avoiding consecutive losses. However, the previous eight teams that went down 0-2 in the WNBA Finals were unable to recover, all losing their respective series in a sweep.

“The competition in this league is exceptional, and the Liberty are a formidable team,” Wilson emphasized. “We must maintain our focus and continue to push forward.”

The Liberty (2-0) will host the Aces (0-2) in Game 3 of the best-of-five series, scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday in Brooklyn. The game will be broadcasted on ABC.


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