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WNBA Finals: What Aces and Liberty have to say about ‘superteam’ label

Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty are facing off against A'ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces in the 2023 WNBA Finals. (Michelle Farsi/Getty Images)

The 2023 WNBA Finals is billed as a Battle of the Superteams between the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty. Just don’t tell them that.

Throughout the season, WNBA fans have followed these All-Star-packed rosters, which already have gone toe-to-toe five times. The defending champion Aces are betting favorites, but the Liberty hold a 3-2 advantage in their 2023 meetings.

Yet the teams themselves have raised their eyebrows over the excitement, preferring to focus their attentions on the court. Here’s a selection of what Las Vegas and New York have said about the “superteam” label.

A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

May 31: “I don’t believe in superteams. I just feel like we’re all coming together with an equal goal and we’re just trying to reach that goal. That doesn’t make us a superteam because we got a couple of accolades. … It’s like, I don’t believe in ring chasing. … We’re talented, we’re skilled? Yes. But when it comes to a superteam? Nah.”

Aug. 6: “I don’t feel that we’re a superteam. I don’t feel that we’ve won enough to claim that. … When we win nine, then label me as a superteam. Put it there, yes. I’m a superteam if we win nine — in a row.”

Breanna Stewart, New York Liberty

Feb. 9: “I want to be surrounded by greatness, and when you look at these people up here and the many people that are a part of the Liberty organization, everybody wants to be better. Everybody wants to continue to raise the standard and move the needle, and we want to do that from on the court, off the court, whatever the case may be, to help this organization and the league be better.”

May 19: “Everybody knows with the roster we have, we automatically have a target on our back, even though we haven’t done anything. We won’t be perfect, especially now. Especially as we work through the kinks.”

Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces

April 18: “Personally, I think that if that works and that gets people’s attention, great. But to me it’s not anything different than I just think tremendous players in the league. And it makes for really fun entertainment, which is what it’s about.”

Aug. 6: “I wouldn’t lean into it. But I would just say there’s an accountability. And I think that there’s no exceptions. you know, I think that we all come out and are consistent in the way we compete offensively and defensively. I think that’s, if you want to look at a superpower, I think we have a really good culture.”

Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty

Sept. 15: “I think it’s something that has gotten put on us. I don’t think we’re a superteam until we’ve won many championships in a row.”

Becky Hammon, Las Vegas Aces coach

June 29: “I think we play a fun style for the [players] and the fans, as does New York. Getting up and down — people like to play that way, shooting a lot of 3s. When the ball gets popping and everybody is happy with their teammate’s success, I think that is contagious.”

Sandy Brondello, New York Liberty coach

June 4: “You guys say it’s the great team and the superteam. We ain’t so super. There’s nothing great about our team right now; we’re going through the mud. But sometimes these things need to happen.”

Sept. 15: “I suppose that’s for the media. I focus on the process, not about what people are talking about us.”

Oct. 1: “That’s the narrative everyone wanted at the start. I didn’t like the superteam thing, but these players, they’ve played great. I think it’ll be a great series, and it’s good promotion for the WNBA.”