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Aces win WNBA title and claim Las Vegas’ first major professional title | WNBA

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Chelsea Gray scored 20 points to lead the Las Vegas Aces to their first WNBA title in a 78-71 Game 4 road win over the Connecticut Sun on Sunday.

Gray went 9 of 13 from the floor and was named MVP after averaging 18 points for the streak. The Aces improved to 4-0 in this year’s playoffs with two days of rest. Rikuna Williams scored 17 points. Kelsey Plum had 16 points for the Aces, Jackie Young had 13 and league MVP Aja Wilson had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Vegas finished 8-0. When the buzzer sounded, Wilson grabbed the ball and stomped the floor before her teammates started the crowd.

“We are champions! We are champions! We are champions!” Wilson yelled at his teammates as they pulled on their championship caps and T-shirts before the trophy ceremony.

It’s the first major professional sports title for the team from Las Vegas, and Wilson certainly hopes it’s just the beginning.

“You see. You can see it,” Wilson said during an on-court celebration. “This is what we are building. This is what we do. That’s all. I’m so happy right now.”

Courtney Williams scored 17 points to lead Connecticut, while Alyssa Thomas had her second straight triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Jonkel Jones added 13 points and DeWanna Bonner had 12.

For Aces coach Becky Hamann, who has not won a title in her remarkable WNBA career, the ring capped a decades-long quest. She left an assistant coaching position with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs to take the Las Vegas position, and the move has paid off.

“They’re incredible on the court, but most of all they’re incredible people,” Hamman said. “They take care of each other. They invest in each other. It is a great honor for me to be their coach. I saw perfection and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Chelsea Gray was named Finals MVP after an impressive streak. Photo: Jessica Hill/AP

Hamann also paid tribute to former Aces coach Bill Laimbeer, who was on the floor during the ceremony. “He put this team together and saw the pieces,” Hammon said.

Aces owner Mark Davis, who also owns the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, was not with his football team on Sunday. He was in Connecticut to receive the trophy. He picked it up, then passed it to the jubilant players, who did the same.

“Las Vegas, we’re the world champions,” Davis said.

Gray, who has overcome several serious injuries that have threatened to derail her career in the past, was named the WNBA Finals MVP in a surprising way after averaging 18.3 points and six assists in the series.

“My teammates are amazing,” Gray said, tearing up. “I worked so hard for this.”

She didn’t make the WNBA All-Star Game this season and wasn’t named to the All-League First Team, and expressed her displeasure about it. In the end, she also had the last word.

“They can keep that All-Star game and the first team,” Gray said. “I got a ring.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/sep/18/aces-win-wnba-title-to-land-las-vegas-first-major-pro-sports-title

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