Guard Chelsea Gray scored 20 points and dished out six assists on Sunday as the Las Vegas Aces beat the Connecticut Sun 78-71 to capture the 2022 Women’s NBA title.
The Aces won their first WNBA title in franchise history, defeating the Suns three games to one in the best-of-five title series.
The victory was the first major professional sports championship for the club based in Las Vegas – where the Aces set up shop in 2018 after the franchise was launched as the Utah Stars in 1997 and relocated to San Antonio, Texas in 2003.
It was also extra sweet, Gray said, after the Aces fell in five games to the Phoenix Mercury in last season’s playoffs.
“We didn’t like the feeling we had last year,” said Gray, named the WNBA Finals MVP.
“It was a tough moment but it built character. It was setting something up for the following year.
Becky Hammon, who played for the team in San Antonio, became the first head coach in WNBA history to win a title in her first season on the job.
The 45-year-old served as an assistant to legendary San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for eight NBA seasons before Aces owner Mark Davis hired her last December to take the helm.
The Aces, led by league MVP forward Aja Wilson, tied for the league’s best regular-season record at 26-10 and were the top seed in the playoffs.
Wilson scored 11 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in Sunday’s decisive game, which saw the Aces lead by 10 points before the Suns halted a comeback bid.
Aces reserve Rikuna Williams added a season-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, draining a step-back three-point dagger over Suns guard Kelsey Plum, with Connecticut fans heading for the exit.
“This is awesome,” said Wilson, who was also the league’s Defensive Player of the Year this season. “I always say, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my teammates. But winning a championship is something no one can ever take away from you and once you get it down, you’re in the books forever.
“This moment here, this year here is something I will never forget.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOUaZcvSBU” width=”942″ height=”530″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe> <p>Hamman said her first WNBA title as a player or coach was "a little surreal."</p> <p>"What I'm most proud of is that we've become a real team here, and a team that cares about each other and trusts each other," she said.</p> <p>More championships were disappointing for those Suns.</p> <p>Connecticut forward Alyssa Thomas had a triple-double for the second straight game but the third-ranked Suns remained unchanged. In pursuit of first WNBA title.</p> <p>AllLatest sports news And breaking news here