Las Vegas and New York set for WNBA Finals matchup

New York and Las Vegas have been on a WNBA Finals collision course all season lengthy as the highest two groups within the league. Now they’ll meet for the league title.

One of the best-of-five sequence begins subsequent Sunday.

The Aces have been there earlier than, profitable the franchise’s first championship final season. They wish to develop into the league’s first repeat champion for the reason that Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.

“We’re glad to place ourselves again able to win the final word prize, which is a championship,” Aces coach Becky Hammon mentioned after the crew swept Dallas within the semifinal sequence.

New York superior to the WNBA Finals for the primary time since 2002 and is the lone remaining authentic franchise that hasn’t received a championship.

“The actual fact Liberty haven’t been to a finals since 2002 is wild,” Stewart mentioned. “To know we’ve the complete metropolis behind us is basically, actually particular.”

Whereas Las Vegas swept its two playoff sequence, New York had slightly more durable time reaching the title spherical. The Liberty wanted additional time to shut out Washington in an opening-round sweep. New York dropped the primary sport in opposition to Connecticut within the semifinals earlier than profitable the ultimate three video games of the sequence.

The WNBA Finals will characteristic the final two league MVPs, with Breanna Stewart profitable this season and A’ja Wilson final 12 months. Stewart edged Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas and Wilson in one of many tightest MVP races in league historical past.

Las Vegas and New York cut up 4 regular-season conferences this season and none was shut. The typical margin of victory was over 19 factors, with the tightest contest being solely 9. New York received a fifth matchup between the groups with a victory within the Commissioner’s Cup championship.

“The chess match begins now. This can be a ultimate, a championship,” New York coach Sandy Brondello mentioned. “I’m excited. I do know Becky shall be excited, all of the gamers competing shall be excited. It’s a hard-fought battle however we’re battle examined, so wanting ahead to that.”

Brondello, who coached Hammon when she was nonetheless enjoying in San Antonio, share a bond as the one former gamers to win titles as coaches. This would be the first time within the league’s 27-year historical past that two former gamers are head coaches within the Finals.

The groups have been constructed in numerous fashions, with the Aces utilizing three straight No. 1 picks to get Kelsey Plum, Wilson and Jackie Younger from 2017-19. That gave them an incredible nucleus to go together with final season’s WNBA Finals MVP, Chelsea Grey.

New York used free company and offseason trades to show the franchise into an immediate title contender by including Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot and Jonquel Jones. These three, together with returning starters Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney, give the Liberty a formidable beginning 5.

“It means so much. I can’t take all of the credit score. my teammates are superb,” Jones mentioned after serving to New York get rid of Connecticut with 25 factors, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks in Sport 4. “None of this occurs with out all of us being purchased into what we envisioned earlier than the season.”

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