The Las Vegas Aces and Connecticut Sun will square off in the 2022 WNBA Finals for the chance to be crowned champion.
Both are looking to claim their first title.
The Aces have made the Finals on two occasions—in 2008, when they were known as the San Antonio Silver Stars and lost to the Detroit Shock, and in 2020, when they fell to the Seattle Storm. They were swept in both instances.
The Sun have made the Finals three times—in back-to-back seasons in 2004 and 2005 and in 2019. They were defeated by the Storm in 2004 and the Sacramento Monarchs in 2005. In 2019, they fell to the Washington Mystics.
There's a lot on the line for both teams entering the Finals, which are slated to begin on Sunday at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Here are three reactions to the upcoming Finals matchup.
Aces' A'ja Wilson Can Add to WNBA Legacy with Title
A'ja Wilson, who has starred in the WNBA since being selected first overall by the Aces in the 2018 draft out of South Carolina, won her second WNBA MVP award this season and was also named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. She is also a four-time All-Star.
Wilson is the seventh player in WNBA history to win more than one WNBA MVP award, joining Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes, who are three-time winners, and Cynthia Cooper, Elena Delle Donne and Candace Parker, who have won it twice.
Wilson's historic resume is missing just one thing that all of those other players have—a WNBA title.
There's little doubt the 26-year-old will add a title to her resume before retiring, but can she do it this year?
Through 36 regular-season games, Wilson averaged 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.9 blocks while shooting 50.1 percent from the floor and 37.3 percent from deep.
She has been even better in the playoffs, averaging 20.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 blocks in six games while shooting 55.4 percent from the floor.
The Aces are the team to beat this year, and if Wilson can continue to produce at a high level, the franchise will likely take home the title.
Becky Hammon Has Gone Above and Beyond in First Year as Head Coach
This is Becky Hammon's first year as a head coach in the WNBA, and she has her team on the brink of winning a WNBA title, which is impressive, though not hard to believe.
The 45-year-old starred in the WNBA from 1999 to 2014, playing for the New York Liberty and the then-San Antonio Silver Stars (now the Aces). She earned six All-Star selections but never won a title.
After retiring, she was hired as an assistant coach for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs in 2014, and in 2015, she became the first-ever female head coach in the NBA's summer league. She led the Spurs to the summer-league title that year.
In 2016, she became the first woman to be part of an NBA All-Star coaching staff, and in 2020, she became the first female acting head coach in NBA history when Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected from a game.
Hammon was hired as head coach of the Aces in December 2021 and led the team to a 26-10 record this season, the best mark in the Western Conference and tied with the Sky for the best record in the WNBA.
She was named 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, becoming the first former WNBA player to win the award in her debut coaching season, beating out the Atlanta Dream's Tanisha Wright and the Sky's James Wade.
The Aces went on to defeat the Mercury in two games in the first round of the playoffs and the Storm in four games in the semifinals.
If Las Vegas wins the 2022 WNBA title, Hammon will become the first first-year head coach to win an WNBA championship since Van Chancellor in 1997.
Can Jonquel Jones Help the Sun Capture First WNBA Title?
Jonquel Jones has spent her entire six-year WNBA career with the Sun, earning four All-Star selections and an MVP award. Will this be the year she leads the franchise to its first-ever WNBA title?
Jones entered Thursday's Game 5 against the Chicago Sky averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 blocks through seven playoff games while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from deep.
The 28-year-old wasn't as involved offensively in the semifinals against the Sky and their tough defense. In Games 3 and 4 of the series, she scored six and nine points, respectively. However, she was much more involved in Game 5 when it was all on the line, finishing with 15 points to help send the Sun to the Finals.
Connecticut will need to find ways to get Jones a little more involved against the Aces, but that might not be a problem. The 28-year-old was solid in two appearances against Las Vegas this season, averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and one assist.
Jones has all of the tools to help the Sun get over the hump.
The performances of DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas will be critical as well for the team to win the trophy.