In a dominant display, the Aces triumph over the Liberty with a resounding 104-76 victory, securing a commanding 2-0 series lead in the WNBA Finals.

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In a dominant display, the Aces triumph over the Liberty with a resounding 104-76 victory, securing a commanding 2-0 series lead in the WNBA Finals.

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In a stunning display of dominance during Game 2 of the WNBA Finals, the Las Vegas Aces left their coach Becky Hammon utterly amazed. A’ja Wilson showcased her prowess with an impressive 26 points and 15 rebounds, leading the Aces to a commanding 104-76 victory over the New York Liberty. This victory propels them to a 2-0 series lead in this best-of-five showdown.Hammon couldn’t help but praise the team’s exceptional cohesion and selflessness. She remarked, “The character of this team and their absolute commitment to each other’s success is genuine. It’s a formidable force when you have players who share the ball, possess skill, and compete at this level. Tonight, they were exceptional. They don’t render me speechless often, but their defensive execution and offensive teamwork – it’s everything we’ve been working towards.”Wilson’s stellar performance saw her connect on 10 of 16 field goal attempts, securing her 26th double-double of the season and fourth in the playoffs. She now joins an elite group in WNBA Finals history, becoming the third player to achieve at least 25 points and 15 rebounds in a single game.The defending champions, the Aces, now stand just one win away from achieving a feat not seen since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Sparks – back-to-back championships. The pressure is on for the Liberty as no team in WNBA history has managed to stage a comeback from a 0-2 series deficit in the Finals. Game 3 is set for Sunday in New York, where the Aces will be eager to seal the deal.Chelsea Gray also showcased her brilliance with a double-double, contributing 14 points and 11 assists, threading impeccable no-look passes for easy scores. Jackie Young added 24 points to the tally, while Kelsey Plum delivered an impressive 23. This dynamic trio of guards continued their dominant streak against the Liberty.New York’s offense heavily relied on Jonquel Jones (22), Breanna Stewart (14), Betnijah Laney (12), and Sabrina Ionescu (10), who combined for a significant 76.3% of the team’s points. Unfortunately, the remaining six players provided just 18 points.

Despite New York’s resilience after losses this season, boasting a perfect 9-0 record, the Aces extinguished that streak with commanding performances in the first and third quarters. The game kicked off with the Aces scoring a staggering 19 of the first 21 points, including 12 from beyond the arc. Their sharpshooting prowess was evident as they connected on an astounding 77.8% of their initial nine shots, with four of them being three-pointers.

New York, on the other hand, struggled with their initial attempts, missing nine out of their first ten shots.

Chelsea Gray credited their strong start to their defensive efforts, saying, “It started with our defense. We kept up the pressure, maintained our physicality, and found our offensive rhythm.”

The Aces’ lead surged to an impressive 21 points in the first quarter, carrying a commanding 38-19 advantage into the second period. This marked a new record for the highest points scored in the first quarter of a WNBA Finals game and also stood as the Aces’ highest single-quarter scoring performance of the entire season.

However, the Liberty mounted a spirited comeback in the second quarter, narrowing a 22-point deficit with a powerful 12-0 run. They outscored the Aces 25-14 in that period, cutting Las Vegas’ lead to a mere eight points, with the halftime score at 52-44. Jonquel Jones played a pivotal role in this resurgence, contributing 16 of her points in the second quarter.

Despite New York’s resurgence in the second, they were unable to sustain their momentum into the third quarter. The Aces launched a dominant 17-3 run, further widening their lead to 69-47. The third quarter saw a combined 20 points from A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young, as the Aces outscored the Liberty 28-13.

The Liberty’s struggles persisted, and they now face the daunting task of trying to avoid a sweep.

In terms of guard play, New York’s backcourt faced difficulties for the second consecutive game, shooting a combined 9 of 34 from the field. Betnijah Laney finished 4 of 15, Sabrina Ionescu was 2 for 10, and Courtney Vandersloot, who didn’t score her first point until the fourth quarter, went 3 of 9. This trio, which boasted a 40% 3-point shooting percentage in the regular season, has now collectively shot 20 of 60 (33.3%) from the field in the series, including 8 of 33 (24.2%) from beyond the arc.

Kiah Stokes had an outstanding night, finishing with eight points, including a season-high two 3-pointers. Her first came during Las Vegas’ early surge in the first quarter, and her second marked the Aces’ first basket of the second quarter. This was an exceptional performance considering that she had only made one 3-pointer in five separate regular-season games.

Reflecting on Stokes’ performance, A’ja Wilson expressed her admiration, saying, “For her to come out and have the night that she did today doesn’t come as a surprise because we see the work that Kiah puts into practice every single day. They can continue to overlook Kiah, but we value her greatly in our locker room.
Reference

https://www.wfmz.com/news/ap/ap-sports/aces-rout-liberty-104-76-take-2-0-series-lead-in-wnba-finals/article_c9076289-bf09-5ece-b92b-397a0b0ef537.html

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