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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

BARNES-RUSH: Vegas Vindication — why the Aces will go back-to-back

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The Las Vegas Aces were WNBA Champions in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Flickr.)

The WNBA regular season is over and the defending champions, the Las Vegas Aces, are positioning themselves as the team to beat in the quest for championship glory.

Their remarkable journey to this position is marked by exceptional teamwork star player performances and a firm determination to maintain their title reign. Here’s a closer look at why they are the undisputed team to beat.

Seeding supremacy

Las Vegas stands tall at the summit of the WNBA standings, holding a one-and-a-half-game lead over their closest competitors, the New York Liberty.

This top seed not only signifies their regular-season dominance but also comes with the invaluable prize of home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Aces have been nothing short of spectacular with a 34-6 regular season record. With the stage set in Las Vegas, they have a golden opportunity to build their championship dreams on their home court.

Stellar roster

The foundation of the Aces’ success undoubtedly lies in their star-studded roster.

Spearheaded by the MVP-caliber power forward A’ja Wilson, they’ve forged a squad that’s both balanced and dynamic. Wilson’s scoring prowess, complemented by the playmaking artistry of point guard Chelsea Gray and the imposing defensive presence of center Liz Cambage, gives Las Vegas a well-rounded edge on both ends of the court.

These talents have consistently translated into impressive statistics over the course of the season. The Aces are 1st in points per game at 92.8. They are 1st in offensive rating at 114.8. Their ability to score at a high level has made them the best WNBA team with the most wins in a regular season with 34.

Playoff experience

The road to a WNBA championship is paved with experience, and Las Vegas has been diligently building toward that goal for years.

As the defending 2022 WNBA champions, the Aces are gearing up to protect their title. A journey that has made them equipped for high-pressure moments that defines playoff basketball. Their ability to maintain composure and execute under intense scrutiny is an intangible asset that cannot be underestimated.

This season the Aces played against their rivals the Liberty at home. They forced the Liberty into 17 turnovers and won the game 98-81. Even in the most important game of the year where they were fighting for home-court advantage in the playoffs, the Aces showed they were really determined to win.

Defensive dominance

It’s well-established in sports that defense wins championships, and the Aces are among the league’s elite in this department.

They’ve held their opponents to a lower field goal percentage and fewer points per game with a defensive rating of 99.2 which is second best in the league. Their ability to frustrate opposing offenses, create turnovers and capitalize on fast breaks is a formidable asset that will undoubtedly be pivotal in the playoffs where every possession is magnified. This is exactly why they currently lead the league in pace at 80.9.

Depth and bench production

A successful playoff run often hinges on a team’s depth, and this is where Las Vegas truly shines.

The Aces possess a bench that has consistently delivered, with players like power forward Kiah Stokes contributing 5.7 rebounds and point guard Alysha Clark providing an impressive 38.6% from the 3-point line. These key players give the Aces scoring and energy when called upon. This depth ensures that the Aces maintain their competitive edge, no matter the circumstances or opposition.

As the WNBA playoffs are already in a full swing the Las Vegas Aces emerge as a force armed with compelling statistical evidence that suggests they’re primed for a championship run. With their top seeding, a star-studded roster, playoff-tested experience, defensive prowess and a deep bench, the Aces possess all the tools necessary to make it to the WNBA Finals and hold the trophy high.

This story was written by Dakota Barnes-Rush. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @DakotaRushMU.

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About the Contributor
Dakota Barnes-Rush, Sports Reporter
Dakota Barnes-Rush is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but lives in Miami for 9 years. He's majoring in journalism and is a sports reporter for the Marquette Wire. Outside of the Marquette Wire he enjoys watching the NBA, YouTube and hanging out with friends. Dakota is most excited about learning more about each individual sport he covers. He believes the more he knows about the sport the more successful his stories will be.

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