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WNBA Finals: Las Vegas Aces repeat as champions despite injuries

(Ian Maule/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Las Vegas Aces claimed their second consecutive WNBA title Wednesday night, with the 70-69 win sealing a 3-1 series victory over the New York Liberty.

A’ja Wilson led the way for the back-to-back champions, earning the Finals MVP award. The 27-year-old forward averaged 23.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in the postseason heading into Game 4 of the championship series.

Las Vegas becomes the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002. In 2022, the Aces won their first title in franchise history, besting the Connecticut Sun in four games. In 2023, they repeated the feat, overcoming New York’s superteam lineup despite being hobbled by injuries.

The Aces formed a superteam of their own with the signing of two-time MVP Candace Parker ahead of the 2023 season. But Parker missed the second half of the season after undergoing foot surgery in July.

Still, the Aces finished with a 34-6 record in the regular season to surpass the 2014 Phoenix Mercury (29-5) for the most wins in WNBA history. And Parker offered her support from the sidelines throughout the postseason run.

The No. 1 seed entering the playoffs, Las Vegas lost just one game during its championship run. The Aces swept the Chicago Sky, 2-0, in the first round, and then the Dallas Wings, 3-0, in the semifinals.

In Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, an 87-73 loss to the Liberty, two Aces starters — 2022 Finals MVP Chelsea Gray and defensive specialist Kiah Stokes — sustained foot injuries, which kept them out of Game 4. But Las Vegas still managed to close out the series at New York’s Barclays Center.