Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Liberty – WNBA Finals – Game 1 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (34-6) | New York Liberty (32-8)

 

The Las Vegas Aces emerged victorious in the first game of the WNBA Finals over the New York Liberty, 99-82. 

The Aces vs Liberty played at the Michelob ULTRA Arena on Sunday.

Aces vs Liberty | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The Las Vegas Aces didn’t have it easy in this one, as they stormed back in the second half to take Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, 99-82, against the New York Liberty.

The 99 points are the most scored in Aces’ franchise history for a WNBA Finals game and fourth-most ever in Las Vegas franchise playoff history.

Las Vegas has been on a roll, winning seven straight playoff games, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in WNBA history.

Kelsey Plum (10-of-19 FGs, 1-of-7 3s, 5-of-5 FTs) and Jackie Young (9-of-15 FGs, 5-of-8 3s) led the way as each scored a career playoff-high 26 points.

The Aces handled business against the Liberty

For Young, she became the first player in WNBA Finals history with 25+ points, 5+ 3s, 4+ rebounds, 4+ assists, and 3+ steals.

It was the start of the Aces vs Liberty first half. 

Aces vs Liberty | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Meanwhile, Chelsea Gray celebrated her 31st birthday with a stellar performance of 20 points (6-of-13 FGs, 3-of-5 3s, 5-of-5 FTs), six rebounds, nine assists, and two blocks. For Gray, she moved into fifth place in the WNBA’s career postseason assists list, and she now has 251 assists for her playoff career. 

Gray is now tied for third in WNBA history for most assists in the WNBA Finals with 76. This marked the sixth time in Gray’s career that she dished out nine or more assists in a playoff game.

A’ja Wilson added 19 points (7-of-11 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), eight rebounds, two steals, and three blocks.

Wilson is one block away from tying Ruth Riley for fourth place on the WNBA’s career playoff blocked shots list. Wilson is also now tied for 10th on the most blocked shots in WNBA Finals history.

The end of the Aces vs Liberty’s first half. 

Wilson, Plum, Young, and Gray combined for 91 points, the most all-time by a quartet in a WNBA Finals game.

The start of the Aces vs Liberty second half. 

Aces vs Liberty | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Breanna Stewart led the way for New York with 21 points (8-of-19 FGs, 1-of-4 3s, 4-of-6 FTs) and nine rebounds. Jonquel Jones chipped in 16 points (7-of-12 FGs, 0-of-3 3s) and ten rebounds, while Marine Johannes came off the bench and put up 14 points (5-of-9 FGs, 4-of-7 3s).

Las Vegas took a 16-10 lead midway through the first quarter after sinking four 3-pointers early on. However, the Liberty countered with a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game. Johannes got hot, scoring eight of her 14 points in the first period. 

The Aces shot 45 percent from the floor in the first quarter, while the Liberty hit 52.9 percent of their field goal attempts.

 

The size differential affected Las Vegas on both ends of the court, as the Liberty began to crash the offensive boards to create extra possessions.

 

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

New York held on to the lead until a 7-0 run by the Aces tied the score at 35-35 at 4:07 remaining in the second quarter. The Liberty then halted that run with a 3-pointer, and for the rest of the period, neither team scored more than three consecutive points. 

Las Vegas connected on 53.8 percent of their tries from the floor, while New York hit an even 50 percent of theirs. Johannes remained hot for the Liberty, scoring six points in the second. Though, that’d be the end of her run.

After a two-point bucket from New York started the third quarter, the Aces outscored the Liberty 14-4 to move ahead, 60-55 at 5:22 left in the period. Las Vegas hit 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from distance, while New York were held to 3-of-9 from the floor and 0-of-2 from 3 in the first 4:38 of the quarter. From there, the Aces never trailed again.

Las Vegas began to dominate in the fourth quarter, as they went up by as many as 22 points, 94-72, with 3:32 left to play. The Liberty strung together an 8-0 run late in the period. However, it was too little too late. The Aces shot a scorching 62.5 percent from the field in the final quarter, while New York made 46.7 percent of theirs.

The final score of the Aces vs Liberty was 99-82.

The Las Vegas Aces will now head into Game 2 against the New York Liberty on Wednesday, October 11th, at 6:00 p.m. PST.

 

– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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