A'ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces are ready to defend their title. After taking down the Dallas Wings in the semifinals, they improved to 5-0 in postseason play with two undefeated series and secured a berth in the WNBA Finals.
Wilson leads the way for the Aces and their spectacular lineup that also features All-Stars Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum. Her strong interior scoring — fueled by strong footwork in the post, a solid jumper and the sense to move without the ball — is a puzzle that defenses often cannot solve. Opponents struggle to make up for it on the other end since Wilson is also one of the very best rim protectors in the league.
Over the Aces' five 2023 playoff games, Wilson has averaged 25.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.0 rebounds per game while shooting 59.5 percent from the field and 82.9 percent from the charity stripe. Only one other player has ever posted a 25-point-10-rebound-3-block stat line over five postseason games: Lisa Leslie.
In elite company ✨@_ajawilson22 averaged 25+ PTS, 10+ REB, and 3+ BLK per game in a 5-game playoffs stretch, joining Lisa Leslie as the only two players to average such a stat line in WNBA Playoffs history #WNBAPlayoffs | @Google | #MoreThanGame pic.twitter.com/ZShlq56n2T
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 30, 2023
It's fitting that Wilson matches a feat done by Leslie, as the former Los Angeles Sparks superstar led the last team to win the WNBA title in consecutive years. Plenty of teams have made consecutive Finals appearances since those 2001 and 2002 Sparks squads but none have captured the ultimate prize in back-to-back years. Not only has Wilson matched a historical feat but she made her own by dropping a 30-burger in three straight games.
Wilson had lost out on the MVP award in a historically close race and since then has only reinforced her qualifications. Her two-way dominance is a major reason why the Aces, the WNBA's top seed with a 34-6 record, are in a great position to win it all. Although star offseason addition Candace Parker has been out since July, Las Vegas continues to mow down the competition.
From the outset of the 2023 WNBA season, the championship series seemed destined to come down to the Aces and New York Liberty, who boast their own star-studded roster headlined by MVP Breanna Stewart. The Liberty, who posted a 32-8 regular-season record and beat the Aces in the Commissioner’s Cup tournament final, currently lead their semifinals series 2-1 against the Connecticut Sun. The WNBA Finals begin next Sunday.