Chelsea Grey scored 20 factors to guide the Las Vegas Aces to their first WNBA title in a 78-71 win away on the Connecticut Solar in Recreation 4 on Sunday.
Grey went 9 of 13 from the ground and was named MVP after averaging 18 factors over the run. The Aces improved to 4-0 on this yr’s playoffs with two days’ relaxation.
Riquna Williams added 17 factors, Kelsey Plum added 16 factors for the Aces, Jackie Younger had 13 and league MVP A’ja Wilson added 11 factors to go together with 14 rebounds.
Vegas completed on an 8-0 run. Because the buzzer sounded Wilson grabbed the ball and stomped the ground earlier than being mobbed by her teammates. It’s the first main skilled sports activities title for a workforce from Las Vegas, and Wilson hopes that is only the start.
“You see it,” Wilson mentioned within the on-court celebration. “That is what we’re constructing, that is what we’re doing – that is it. I am so pleased proper now.”
Courtney Williams had 17 factors to guide Connecticut and Alyssa Thomas had her second straight triple-double with 11 factors, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Jonquel Jones added 13 factors and DeWanna Bonner had 12. Las Vegas had led by two factors on the half and 4 factors after three quarters.
For Aces coach Becky Hammon, who didn’t get a title in her standout WNBA enjoying profession, the ring accomplished a decades-long quest. She left an assistant coach place with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs to take over in Las Vegas, and the transfer paid off.
“They’re unbelievable on the court docket however they’re unbelievable people, in the beginning,” Hammon mentioned.
“They care about one another, they put money into one another – it has been an absolute honour to be their coach. I noticed excellence and I needed to be part of it.
Hammon additionally paid tribute to former Aces coach Invoice Laimbeer, who was on the ground for the ceremony. He put this workforce collectively and noticed the items, Hammon mentioned.
Aces proprietor Mark Davis, who additionally owns the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, was not together with his soccer workforce Sunday. He was in Connecticut to get a trophy. He hoisted it, then turned it over to gleeful gamers who did the identical.
It was a six-point lead within the fourth when Plum was known as for a flagrant foul after operating into Bonner whereas the Solar guard was trying a three-pointer and sending her to the ground holding her proper ankle.
Bonner hit all three free throws earlier than Jonquel Jones’ quick jumper reduce the lead to a degree. The Solar then tied the sport at 67 on free throw by Courtney Williams and took a 71-70 lead on two fouls pictures from Brionna Jones, however Las Vegas had the solutions.
Riquna Williams’ three-pointer put the Aces again on high and Grey’s step-back jumper prolonged the lead again to 75-71 with below a minute left A’ja Wilson then stole a cross and Plum hit a brief leap shot to safe the win.
Bonner opened the scoring with a leaner from the left wing. However Plum’s three-pointer from the left baseline sparked an early 12-0 run for Vegas that shot them out to a 16-6 lead. The Aces, who gave up 34 factors to the Solar within the first quarter of Recreation 3, led 16-12 after 10 minutes on Sunday.
Grey, who overcame some severe accidents which threatened to sidetrack her profession prior to now, was WNBA Finals MVP, to nobody’s shock after averaging 18.3 factors and 6 assists within the collection.
“My teammates are superior,” Grey mentioned as she broke into tears. “I labored so exhausting for this.”
She was not a WNBA All-Star this season, nor was she a first-team all-league choose, and voiced her displeasure about that. Ultimately, nonetheless, she additionally received the final phrase.
“They’ll hold that All-Star and first workforce,” Grey mentioned. “I received the ring.”