Wrapping Up 2023 – Top 5 WNBA Moments Leading Upto Aces’ Championship

Published 12/28/2023, 2:37 PM EST

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The 2023 WNBA was dominated by two super teams. One was led by A’ja Wilson’s formidable Aces and the other headed by Sabrina Ionescu’s remarkable Liberty ladies. Together with other women stars, they formed an unstoppable force, leading their respective teams to numerous victories and captivating fans with their incredible performances.

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The final match between the Aces and the Liberty was a true spectacle, showcasing the extraordinary talent and competitiveness of both teams. It was a game that will be remembered for years to come, with the outcome uncertain until the very last second. But apart from the final faceoff, the 2023 WNBA season created many memorable moments which stayed with fans.

Alyssa Thomas’ incredible 20/10/10/5 performance

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Alyssa Thomas, a standout player for the Connecticut Sun, gave an incredible performance against the LA Sparks. As the Sun defeated the Hawks 90–76, Thomas ended with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals, and one block on 11–14 shooting (78.6%).

By achieving this feat, she made WNBA history as the first player to ever have a game with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals. This comes after Thomas became the first player to achieve back-to-back triple-doubles. As of right now, she has six triple-doubles for the season.

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By shattering the record for most assists in a single season in the WNBA, Alyssa Thomas also created history. She has surpassed Courtney Vandersloot’s previous record of 300 assists established in 2019 with the Chicago Sky, with 304 assists for the season. Thomas has averaged 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 46.6% shooting per game this season.

Sabrina Ionescu proves she is the Steph Curry of WNBA

Point guard Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty made history by making 25 of her 27 shots, enough for 37 points out of a potential 40. She broke the 31-point NBA record held by Tyrese Haliburton in 2023 and Steph Curry in 2021. In addition, she broke Allie Quigley’s 2022 WNBA record of 30 points.

When Courtney Vandersloot spotted Ionescu slipping to the corner at 7:23 during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Sparks, it was an automatic 3-pointer and broke the record. Diana Taurasi set the previous record for the most 3-pointers made in a season in 2006 with 121. With the most 3-pointers made in a season in the WNBA and NBA, respectively, Sabrina Ionescu and Steph Curry are the finest shooters in their respective leagues. Hence, we often refer to her as Stephen Curry of the WNBA.

A’ja Wilson’s shootout despite the MVP snub

In an exciting Game 2 of the playoffs, the Las Vegas Aces upset the Dallas Wings 91-84 to move closer to winning a second consecutive WNBA title. The Aces had a commanding 2-0 lead in the WNBA playoffs after this victory. With just 39.6 seconds remaining, A’ja Wilson made two crucial free throws to secure the victory and make it 89-81.

Wilson made postseason history by becoming the first WNBA player to record three straight games with 30 or more points,m. She put on a record-breaking effort in the last three games, scoring 102 points. With her 102 points in the last three games, she broke the previous WNBA record.

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New York Liberty’s first MVP

Despite being the founding team, New York Liberty had the void of MVP. The transfer of Breanna Stewart to the Liberty was the talk of the town in 2023, and she justified the choice by winning the second MVP with the New York Liberty. After a tight battle, Breanna Stewart won the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the second time in her career.

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Stewart trailed behind Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun in second place and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, last year’s MVP, by 13 points. Stewart was awarded 446 points (20 points for first place, 23 points for second place, and 17 points for third place). With 23, 12, and 25 points, Thomas had 439. With 17, 25, 17, and 1 point, Wilson scored 433.

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Aces as champs

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The Aces created history by overcoming the momentum to win the WNBA title in 2023, 70-69. Since 2002, when the Los Angeles Sparks swept the Liberty courtesy to hall-of-fame player Lisa Leslie’s incredible efforts, they are the first defending champion to complete a repeat. Additionally, since the league switched to a best-of-five format for the finals, this is the first time any WNBA club has won consecutive crowns. With two players hurt in the decisive game and future Hall of Famer Candace Parker waiting on the sidelines, the Aces accomplished something no team has ever done before.

Unsurprisingly, Wilson earned her first MVP trophy in the Finals after collecting 16 rebounds and scoring 24 points in the game that decided the championship. She averaged 23.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and three assists per game, dominating the floor on both offense and defense.

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Written by:

Nima Murugan

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“Basketball isn’t an act of jumping jacks, it’s a sport mirroring life through assists and rebounds”. Before becoming an NBA writer at EssentiallySports, I was drawn to the world of basketball when 'The Chosen One' first started locking horns with 'His Airness' over the GOAT debate. Some discourses shape your imagination and rightly so.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

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