The Las Vegas Aces won the first WNBA championship in franchise history on Sunday when they topped the Connecticut Sun 78-71 in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. The championship victory also cemented Becky Hammon’s first year as head coach of the franchise.
Since taking over the franchise, Hammon has received several accolades to include Coach of the Year, Commissioner’s Cup Championship, WNBA All-Star Head Coach, and the #1 overall record.
“Obviously super proud of this group,” Hammon said after the championship win. “Just really happy for the girls overall. They stayed focused. This has been the goal since training camp. Luckily, I got a group of really resilient players and you know, I said it out there, but probably the biggest thing I’m proud of is just how they have come together over the course of the past five, six months to really become a team.”
“She [Hammon] demands excellence from us each and every day,” said Aces point guard Chelsea Gray. “It’s fun to do that with somebody that you know has your back and she’s instilled that into us each moment, and so it’s fun to raise that banner with her.”
Then there is league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year A’ja Wilson who contributed 11 points and 14 rebounds to help push her team to victory. Wilson’s journey to this moment started when the franchise drafted her in 2018.
“This is amazing. I say it all the time, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my teammates,” Wilson said. “But winning a championship is something that no one can ever take from you and once you got that down, you are in the books forever. This moment right here, this year right here is something I’m never going to forget and this is not going to be the first.”
Major credit also has to go to Aces owner Mark Davis who also owns the Las Vegas Raiders. His investment and support of the team and its players stands out among the other franchises in the WNBA. Davis’ vision has helped turn the franchise around and set them up for a successful future.
This was a special win for the Aces and the city of Las Vegas who now have their first championship in any professional sport. The Aces were able to celebrate with their fans at the team’s championship parade along the Las Vegas strip on Tuesday.
Prior to the parade, A’ja Wilson had strict instructions for fans planning to attend: “if you ain’t four shots in, don’t come.”
The Aces deserve to savor this moment for as long as they can. Congratulations to the 2022 WNBA champs!