Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Liberty – WNBA Finals – Game 2 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

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

 

The Las Vegas Aces rolled to a 104-76 victory over the New York Liberty to take a 2-0 series lead in the 2023 WNBA Finals. 

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

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

Off huge performances in the first and third quarters, the Las Vegas Aces defeated the New York Liberty, 104-76, in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals. They are now one game away from repeating as champions and from becoming the first back-to-back champions in 21 years. 

A’ja Wilson led the way for Las Vegas with 26 points (10-of-16 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs) and 15 rebounds. This game marked Wilson’s 16th playoff double-double (26 points, 15 rebounds), which has her tied for seventh in WNBA playoff history with DeWanna Bonner.

Wilson is also now tied with Ruth Riley for fourth place on the WNBA’s career playoff blocked shots list with 77. She also ranks 10th in most blocked shots in WNBA Finals history with 17.

The Aces handled business against the Liberty

Wilson now has 11 career playoff games with 20+ points and 10+ rebounds. The only players with more are Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker (12 each).

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

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

Also for the Aces, Jackie Young finished with 24 points (9-of-16 FGs, 3-of-7 3s), eight rebounds, and four assists; Kelsey Plum contributed 23 points (7-of-14 FGs, 5-of-8 3s), eight assists, and three steals; Kiah Stokes scored a 2023-high of eight points (3-of-5 FGs, 2-of-3 3s) while nabbing seven boards. 

In addition, Chelsea Gray recorded her first WNBA Finals double-double with 14 points (6-of-14 FGs, 2-of-8 3s) and 11 assists. This marked the seventh time Gray dished out nine or more assists in a playoff game.

With that, Gray moved into fifth place on the WNBA’s career postseason assists chart, with 263 for her playoff career. Gray is now tied for second in WNBA history for most assists in the WNBA Finals with 87.

Jonquel Jones led the Liberty with 22 points (8-of-12 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), ten rebounds, and four blocks; Breanna Stewart had 14 points (6-of-17 FGs, 1-of-6 3s) and 13 rebounds; Betnijah Laney had 12 points (4-of-15 FGs, 2-of-9 3s) and five assists.

Las Vegas roared out to a 19-2 lead over the game’s first four minutes and went up by as many as 21 points before the period ended. Wilson had 12 points, and Plum had nine, while no Liberty had more than seven.

The Aces were scorching hot, hitting 70 percent of their shots from the field and 60 percent from distance while holding the Liberty to 30 percent of their field goal attempts and 20 percent from beyond the arc. 

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

Only twice in WNBA Finals history has a team seen all five starters make at least one three, and Las Vegas got it done in the first quarter.

The start of the Aces vs Liberty second half. 

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

Jones asserted her will in the paint and on the offensive glass. Her 14 points and nine rebounds helped the Liberty stay in the game, as the Aces led 50-36 with 3:15 to play in the first half.

A solid second-quarter response from the Liberty slowed the pace by controlling the glass and continuing to move the ball.

After Las Vegas opened the second quarter with a 22-point, 41-19 advantage, the Liberty outscored the Aces 13-4, closing to 45-32 at 5:14. Las Vegas scored the following five points. However, New York held the Aces scoreless over the next 4:17 while putting up 12 straight points. 

A layup from Alysha Clark ended the drought three seconds before halftime, sending Las Vegas to the locker room up 52-44. Jones came out firing, scoring 16 points in the second quarter alone. 

 

Las Vegas responded out of halftime with two straight three-point plays from Young, and the Aces reclaimed a 16-point lead.

 

Ultimately, Wilson (eight) and Young (nine) combined for all of Las Vegas’ points in a 17-3 second-half opening run that put the game out of reach, 69-47, with 4:40 on the clock. No New York player scored more than three points.

The Aces shot 57.9 percent in the third quarter, and the Liberty just 31.2 percent from the floor. Las Vegas committed just one turnover for zero points, while New York had four miscues, from which the Aces scored eight points.

Wilson, averaging 24.7 points and 10.7 rebounds on 60 percent shooting in the postseason before this game, had 24 more points and 11 rebounds through three quarters.

Led by six points apiece from Plum and Young, Las Vegas outscored the Liberty 24-19 in the final frame. The Aces hit 40 percent of their field goal attempts and made 50 percent from 3-point range, while New York was held to 37.5 percent overall and 12.5 percent from distance.

The final score of the Aces vs Liberty was 104-76.

The Las Vegas Aces will now head into Game 3 against the New York Liberty on Sunday, October 15th, at noon PST.

 

– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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