The Barclays Center welcomed its first basketball champion, but not that of one of its residents.
After what started as a hopeful Game 4 win for the Liberty and a ticket back to Las Vegas for a deciding Game 5 on Friday, turned into another familiar 70-69 loss late in the game against an aggressive but exhausted Ace team on Wednesday night.
Without Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes, the Aces still managed to win back-to-back titles – the league’s first since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-2002 – in unconventional fashion by their norm, but that didn’t It doesn’t matter. at the end.
With the game tied at 64, Jackie Young scored four straight points to give the Aces a 68-64 advantage with 2:04 left.
Liberty forward Breanna Stewart had an open look on a 3 but the shot went over.
A’ja Wilson then hit a tough turnaround shot with 1:26 left to give the Aces a 70-64 advantage.
Courtney Vandersloot made a 3-pointer on New York’s next possession, then stole the ball from Kelsey Plum, leading to Sabrina Ionescu’s jumper at the foul line to bring the Liberty within one with 41.7 to play .
On the ensuing possession, Las Vegas ran down the shot clock before coach Becky Hammon called a timeout with 3 seconds left on the shot clock.
The Aces passed the ball to Wilson on a lob, but Stewart blocked the shot, giving New York one last chance.
After a timeout with 8.8 seconds remaining, the Liberty handed the ball to Stewart, who was double-teamed.
The ball passed to Vandersloot in the corner, but his shot missed badly, sparking a wild celebration from the Aces in midfield.
Wilson led the Aces with a double-double (24 points and 16 rebounds, both game highs) and earned WNBA Finals MVP honors.
Young and Cayla George with 16 and 11 points respectively for the Aces in front of the Barclays Center crowd that included Sue Bird, Jason Sudeikis, Nate Burleson, Issa Rae, Fat Joe and members of Gotham FC.
Vandersloot finished with 19 points and Betnijah Laney added 15 for New York.
— With AP.
USA News Gb1