WNBA Finals 2023 : Aces vs. Liberty
Written by JAMM on October 6, 2023
Seven of 18 WNBA Finals have gone the distance since the best-of-five format started in 2005. With the top two seeds and preseason favorites playing for the 2023 WNBA championship, will we see an eighth rendition of a winner-take-all Game 5 when the Las Vegas Aces face the New York Liberty?
We couldn’t ask for a better setup, with a matchup of superstars in their primes — Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson and New York’s Breanna Stewart — as two teams with the top talent and what appears to be the best chemistry meet. The Finals will begin Sunday in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN App.
The most recent five-game WNBA Finals was in 2019, when the Washington Mystics beat the Connecticut Sun. That was a matchup of the top two teams in the standings, as was the case in 2016 and 2017, when the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx went the distance and alternated in taking home the trophy.
This season, the Liberty beat the Aces in the Commissioner’s Cup final, while the teams split their four regular-season meetings. They played four times in August, so those games are still fresh in their minds.
Almost anywhere you look in this series, you’ll see a No. 1 pick or an MVP or a statistical leader — or someone who is all three.
Both coaches are former WNBA players; Las Vegas’ Becky Hammon led the Aces to the league title last year, while New York’s Sandy Brondello guided the Phoenix Mercury to the 2014 championship.
The fan bases come at this from a different perspective. The Aces’ franchise dates to the start of the WNBA in 1997 as the Utah Starzz, but their time in Las Vegas has been short and successful. They moved from San Antonio to the Strip in 2018, and they are appearing in the Finals for the third time.
New York, on the other hand, is the only still-existing original WNBA franchise that has not won a title. While the Liberty players — none of whom has been with the team since before 2019 — might not really feel that historical weight, the longtime Liberty fans do.