With the WNBA Finals set to begin Sunday, the New York Liberty will matchup against the Las Vegas Aces. The Liberty look to bring home their first trophy to New York, while Las Vegas looks to defend their title. It's New York's first trip to the finals since 2002. Best of five games, the Aces will have home court advantage for games one and two.
WNBA Championship Title Odds
2023 WNBA Finals Schedule
(2) New York Liberty vs. (1) Las Vegas Aces
Game 1: Sun, Oct 8: New York Liberty @ Las Vegas Aces, 3 p.m. EDT, ABC
Game 2: Wed, Oct 11: New York Liberty @ Las Vegas Aces, 9 p.m. EDT, ESPN
Game 3: Sun, Oct 15: Las Vegas Aces @ New York Liberty, 3 p.m. EDT, ABC
Game 4 *: Wed, Oct 18: Las Vegas Aces @ New York Liberty, 8 p.m. EDT, ESPN
Game 5 *: Fri, Oct 20: New York Liberty @ Las Vegas Aces, 9 p.m. EDT, ESPN
Season Matchups: Liberty(32-8) vs. Aces (34-6)
*Season Series Split 2-2*
Game 1: Las Vegas 98, New York 81 (Las Vegas -6.5, Over 176)
Game 2: New York 99, Las Vegas 61(New York +4.5, Under 176.5)
Game 3: Las Vegas 88, New York 75 (Las Vegas -7.5, Under 175.5)
Game 4: New York 94, Las Vegas 85 (New York -2, Over 174.5)
*Commissioners Cup: New York 82, Las Vegas 63 (New York +7.5, Under 178)
New York Liberty
- Han Xu, Center: OUT (Overseas Committment)
Las Vegas Aces
- Candace Parker, forward: OUT (Foot)
New York Liberty
Libs been lighting it UP 💪 pic.twitter.com/IKQ4JGmz2k— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) October 2, 2023
Playoffs First Round: Defeated the Washington Mystics 2-0
Game 1: New York 90, Washington 75 (New York-9.5, Over 163)
Game 2: New York 80, Washington 85 OT ( Washington, Over)
Playoffs Semifinals: Defeated the Connecticut Sun 3-1
Game 1: Connecticut 78, New York 63 (CT +8.5 , Under 163)
Game 2: New York 84, Connecticut 77 (CT -9.5, Over 158.5)
Game 3: New York 92, Connecticut 81(New York -4, Over 158.5)
Game 4:New York 87, Connecticut 84 (Connecticut +5.5, Over 160)
For much of the season, fans predicted a Liberty vs. Aces Finals. Two elite teams, the Liberty will have the task of facing the Aces on the road for games one and two. Under second year head coach Sandy Brondello, New York finished a franchise best 32-8, and head to their first WNBA finals appearance since 2002. Yes, you heard that correctly, it's been 21 years since since New York made it to the NBA Finals. Post All-Star break, including the month of August, the Liberty had a league best 9-1 record. Having covered the New York Liberty, they were that good. 18-4 since the All-Star break, Brooklyn's team lead the league in offensive rating, net rating, assists, among several statistical categories.
Aside from their matchups with the Aces, New York was tested through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Several members of the Liberty stated the Mystics were viewed as a three seed rather than a seven. With Washington healthy, the team had the return of Elena Delle Donne and Ariel Atkins. Cruising to a game one victory in Brooklyn, the Liberty had a much tougher matchup in game two.
The Liberty were tested against the Mystics and the Sun
Sometimes being tested as a team isn't an entirely bad dilemma. For the Liberty, this game made a statement about their character, and chemistry as a whole. Once up by eleven, the Mystics sent the matchup into overtime. New York, the most efficient three-point shooting team in the league, couldn't get the shots to fall from long range. Shooting 17.4 percent from distance, New York was able to adjust to the opposing defense. In an exhilarating finish, Jonquel Jones ran the offense, and the Liberty dominated inside the paint. Overall, gathering the rebounds and paint dominance was key for the Liberty.
In game one of the semi-finals, the Connecticut Sun defeated New York on their home court, 78-63. Completely out of rhythm, New York's shooting woes continued. Breanna Stewarts offensive struggles repeated, and Betnijah Laney finished with three points. After the loss, New York was able to capture a game two victory at home, and two on the road. In four games against Connecticut, the Liberty averaged 81.5 points, 36 rebounds, 19.5 assists, and 4.5 steals. For the semifinals, Brondello's team shot 42.6 percent from the field, and 36.6 percent from three-point range.
Throughout six postseason games, New York is averaging 84.3 points, 38 rebounds, 19.5 assists, 5.3 steals, and 7 blocks. They are shooting only 33.5 percent from long range, and 42.7 percent from the field. They've been much more effective on the road, scoring 89.5 points, compared to 81.5 at home. In the playoffs, New York ranks second in offensive rating and net rating, third in defensive rating, and second in rebounding percentage.
Las Vegas Aces
Playoffs First-Round: Defeated the Chicago Sky 2-0
Game 1: Las Vegas 87, Chicago 59 (Las Vegas -16, Under 172.5)
Game 2: Las Vegas 92, Chicago 70 (Las Vegas -17.5, Under 170)
Playoffs Semifinals: Defeated the Dallas Wings 3-0
LAS VEGAS SWEEP 🧹— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 30, 2023
The Aces eliminate the Wings and head back to the WNBA Finals ♠️ pic.twitter.com/FPFkpiCpcc
Game 1: Las Vegas 97, Dallas 83 (Las Vegas -10, Over 174)
Game 2: Las Vegas 91, Dallas 84 (Dallas +10.5, Push 175)
Game 3: Las Vegas 64, Dallas 61 (Dallas +6.5, Under 174)
The Las Vegas Aces made WNBA history this year with a regular season 34-6 record. A'ja Wilson, was named defensive player of the year, as well as Alysha Clarke, sixth player of the year. The Aces were as dominant as you could think of, especially through the first half of the season. Although four of their six losses came in August, the Aces remained one of the most elite teams on both sides of the ball. They faced the Chicago Sky, who clinched the 8th and final playoff spot, over the Los Angeles Sparks. Led by Kahleah Copper, the Sky had a mid-season head coaching change, and lost several members of their championship roster.
The Aces, known for their prolific defense, shined in their 87-59 game one win against the Sky. Having home court advantage, Las Vegas swept the series, and had a 50-point differential over two matchups. Overall, Chicago couldn't compete in the paint, as well as fast break points. Game two, the Aces defeated the Sky 92-70, in which A'ja Wilson finished with 38 points and 16 rebounds. Primarily using a six-player rotation, the Aces averaged 89.5 points, 42.5 rebounds, 20 assists, 11 steals, and 5.5 blocks in two matchups against Chicago. Las Vegas, led by head coach Becky Hammon, shot 32.6 percent from the three-point range, and 42.4 percent from the field.
The Aces are undefeated in the post season
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
Since their inaugural season in 2018, Vegas made their 5th straight appearance in the semifinals. Upon completing the 3-0 sweep against the Dallas Wings, Las Vegas had two dominant games at home. The Wings, who led the league in rebounds, couldn't keep up in pace on the rebounds. In two games, A'ja Wilson had a combined 64 points, 19 rebounds, 6 blocks, and three steals. Wilson became the first player in WNBA history to have three consecutive games with at least 30 plus points. Although the Aces are undefeated in the playoffs, they were presented some challenges on the road in game three. In a low scoring affair, Las Vegas went on an 11-0 run to secure a 64-61 victory.
In three wins against the Wings, the Aces averaged 84 points, 38 rebounds, 17 assists, 6.7 steals, and 5.7 blocks. They shot an efficient 47.2 percent from the field, and 37.9 percent from the three.
In five postseason games, Vegas averages 86.2 points, 39.8 rebounds, 8.4 steals, and 5.6 blocks. Their three-point percentage is 35.8, and their field goal percentage is 45.1.
The season series split 2-2 between the New York Liberty and the Las Vegas Aces. Excluding the Commissioners Cup, each team has two wins on their respective home courts. New York held Las Vegas to under 65 points twice, which included their Commissioners Cup victory in August. The Aces took the first game of the series 98-81, in which they had Candace Parker on the floor. Although the playoffs are often viewed as 0-0, I thought of the Commissioners Cup as a definitive game five.
In four games excluding the cup, New York averaged 87.8 points, 37.5 rebounds, 24 assists, 5 steals, and 4.3 blocks. The Liberty shot nearly 40 percent from the three, and 45.7 percent from the field against the Aces.
For Las Vegas, Wilson and company averaged 83 points, 29.3 rebounds, 22 assists, 7.8 steals, and 3 blocks. They shot 35.9 percent from long range, and 45 percent from the field.
Cleary, both teams played significantly superior on their home courts. Best of five games, the Aces will have home court advantage for the first two matchups. Excluding the cup, they only dropped one game at home, against the Los Angeles Sparks.
The talent-packed @nyliberty had some historic moments this szn and hope to keep the momentum going in the #WNBAFinals 👏— WNBA (@WNBA) October 6, 2023
Tune in on Oct. 8th at 3pm/ET on ABC to see if the Liberty have what it takes to continue making history#BestofWNBA presented by @Google pic.twitter.com/WvrSxDcWzg
The WNBA Finals are comprised of two elite teams, which will be historic and entertaining. The Aces will have home court advantage, in which they endured only one loss. With the series tied 2-2, the Liberty defeated the Aces on their home court for the Commissioners Cup title. This will be the most challenging task yet, for a group that had just a season to develop chemistry. The Aces are a well-established roster, who won the finals under coach Hammon in 2022.
This series is going to be an absolute dog fight and will come down to who can punch first. Controlling the pace and rebounds will be key for either team, as well as defense. In fact, Las Vegas has four starting All-Stars, while the Liberty starting five have all been selected as an all-star in their career. With two brilliant coaches in Brondello and Hammon, this series should go all the way to five games.
The Aces two wins came on their home court and were not able to secure a victory in Brooklyn. If Jonquel Jones can stay out of foul trouble, New York has already won on the road. While the Aces play small ball with three guards, New York has more depth and size in the frontcourt. I'm picking the Liberty to take it all in five games, in what should be an intense, physical, close series. Either way, this is an incredible matchup for the fans, and the league overall.
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Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter at BallisLife, and Sports Content Creator on Twitch and TikTok. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.Tweets by BallislifeBets
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