Playing First Game Without Chelsea Gray in WNBA Finals, Alysha Clark Credits Champion Coach for Calming the Nerves Down

Published 10/22/2023, 2:19 AM EDT

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League teams often have to face setbacks and those setbacks can take a heavy toll on players. During these moments, it’s important to have a leader for guidance. One such moment happened with the Las Vegas Aces when they had to play their first game without the presence of their star player, Chelsea Gray.

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In a recent interview, the Aces star, Alysha Clarks, opened up about their coach’s crucial role in guiding them through this moment.

A major setback for the Aces

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During the Game 3 of the 2023 WNBA Finals Five, the star point guard of the Aces, Chelsea Gray injured her left foot. This injury wasn’t the only setback that the Aces had to face in that game they lost to the New York Liberty with the Final score of 87-73. After a while, it was reported that the point guard won’t be returning for Game 4.

This incident took a heavy toll on the Aces, as they had to play against a super team without their point guard. In a recent interview with Craig Hoffman on ‘The Hoffman Show’, Alysha Clark revealed how the situation was when they had to play without Gray and the crucial role their coach Becky Hammon played in calming them down.

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During the interview, Clark said, “This was our first game without Chelsea, you know, she’s our leader, obviously our point guard, like she orchestrates a lot of things we do offensively. So was our first game without her in a big moment, but we had to work out the kinks a little bit and we knew that was going to come. But, like I told Holly, our turnovers were the right turnovers in the sense of like we were trying to make the right play. We made the reads, it was just we weren’t executing our pass in that way. So you know, when that stuff, when those decisions happen, you kind of just have to be a realist in that moment.”

She further continued, “Becky(Hammon), who’s like listen ‘I’ll take those turnovers all day like you guys are trying to make the right play. We’re trying to play the right way, that’s fine.’ It kind of helps like calm you down.” 

Clark’s words show the importance of having coaches like Hammon, who knows how to approach a moment like this. Notably, the Aces won Game 4 and the 2023 WNBA championship.

The 2023 WNBA champions

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Even after facing all these setbacks, the Aces emerged victorious in the 2023 WNBA championship. They showed the world why they are called the best teams in the league. 

The Aces won the 2022 WNBA championship and now the 2023 championship too, which helped them solidify their dynasty and made them the third team to ever achieve back-to-back titles.

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Watch This Story: With A’ja Wilson’s Aces on the Cusp of History, Which Team Won Back-to-Back WNBA Championships?

The 2023 WNBA season was a thrilling experience for the fans and, as it comes to an end, fans eagerly wait for the 2024 season.

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Written by:

Ojus Verma

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Ojus is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. With a foundation in economics and a 12-year experience in playing basketball, he seamlessly combines academic knowledge with genuine enthusiasm for the game. He is spellbound as much by the intricacies of the game as he is by the legacies left by NBA legends such as Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

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