Riquna Williams scored 17 points off the bench, including eight in just over a minute late in the game, and the Las Vegas Aces outlasted the Connecticut Sun 78–71 on Sept. 18, to win the WNBA championship in Uncasville, Conn.
The Aces won the best-of-five series in four games over the determined Sun and had to have a stellar performance by its supporting cast to get the job done.
It’s the third time in the past four seasons that the WNBA has crowned a first-time champion. The Aces are the first professional sports team from Las Vegas to win a championship.
MVP Chelsea Gray paced the Aces with 20 points, with Kelsey Plum adding 15, Jackie Young scoring 13 and A’ja Wilson racking up 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Las Vegas led 67–61 with 3:55 to play before Connecticut rallied with three free throws by DeWanna Bonner, a bucket by Jonquel Jones and a free throw from Courtney Williams to tie the game with 3:02 remaining.
Courtney Williams hit a jumper to cap the Sun’s 8–0 surge and grant them the lead, but Riquna Williams canned a 3-pointer to push the Aces back to the front.
Connecticut’s defense forced the Aces into 10 consecutive missed shots over the latter half of the second quarter and rallied to tie the game at 25 on DeWanna Bonner’s running layup with 1:21 to play in the half.
Las Vegas eventually took a 30–28 lead into the break.
Williams had seven points and Gray and Wilson matched that total for Las Vegas to lead their respective teams at halftime. Wilson grabbed 11 rebounds over the first 20 minutes of play.
The third quarter stayed with the gritty pattern, with the lead seesawing between the teams and neither ahead by more than five points on the way to a 53–49 advantage for the Aces at the end of the period.