The Aces “Ace” The Suns to Win Their First Franchise Title

Story posted 6 days ago in CommRadio, Sports by Allie Wenskoski

Las Vegas is known for its world-class entertainment and lived up to the name on Sunday by taking home the 2022 WNBA Championship.

The Aces wrote their names in the history books by defeating the Connecticut Suns 3-1. Not only was this their first win in franchise history, but this was also the first time Las Vegas celebrated a professional sports team championship.

Although the title was claimed on the East Coast, the celebration started in the Entertainment Capital of the World the second the clock ticked to zero, with the Aces winning 78-71.

Their success on the court was constant all season, and the Aces were the number one seed going into the playoffs.

The WNBA debuted a new playoff format this year, with the first round being a best-of-three, and the semi-finals and finals being a best-of-five. After powering through the Phoenix Mercury in just two games in the first round and beating the Seattle Storm 3-1 in the semis, the Aces proved to be unstoppable.

The Suns also were a force to be reckoned with after eliminating the Dallas Wings 2-1 in the first round and defeating the defending WNBA Champions, the Chicago Sky, in a nail-biting series 3-2.

Although they were not able to claim the 2022 title, the Suns did avoid a shutout series by forcing a game four, after winning game three 105-76.

The Finals MVP came down to two incredible players: forward A’ja Wilson and point guard Chelsea Gray. Both were admirable choices, with Wilson averaging 20 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, with Gray coming in at 18.3 points and six assists per game.

Gray ultimately became the winner by scoring 20 points in the Championship Game to top off her amazing playing in the series.

The team is coached by legend Becky Hammon who has already had such an impressive career. In her 16 years of WNBA play, she recorded six All-Star selections, was named one of the top 25 greatest players to ever play in the WNBA and had her jersey retired by Las Vegas last year.

However, she didn’t win a ring in her career as an athlete, so finally securing the victory as a coach was a personal goal achieved after a long-time coming.

Hammon tops off her list of accomplishments by being named the WNBA’s Coach of the Year in her first year of being the Aces’ coach. She is only the third former WNBA athlete to win this honor and the first since 2014.

Additionally, Hammon is the only head coach to win the championship in her rookie season besides for the original season of the league in 1997, where Van Chancellor secured the victory for the Houston Comets. 

With the Aces’ title comes the end of their incredible season, where they recorded the franchise’s third-highest regular season winning percentage.

Nonetheless, the team is already looking ahead to next season and beyond, with their season motto staying true until the end: they are “all in.”

Allie Wenskoski is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email amw7637@psu.edu.