A’ja Wilson capped off a remarkable run Sunday when Las Vegas beat Connecticut 78-71 to win the first WNBA championship in franchise history. Wilson added to her trophy haul that included league MVP and Defensive Player of the year.
Wilson averaged 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 blocks during the regular season on the way to her second league MVP award in three seasons. She then boosted her numbers to 20.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.4 blocks in the postseason.
During her streak, Wilson became the first WNBA player with consecutive 30-point, 10-rebound games in the playoffs. She also became the first player with five 20-point, 10-rebound games in the postseason, which she accomplished in consecutive games.
Wilson played all but four minutes in the semifinals and all but nine minutes in the finals. She set a WNBA record with 11 rebounds in the first half of the deciding game, and her steal on an inbounds play, after the Connecticut arena played “Sandstorm” during the timeout, effectively clinched the championship.
Las Vegas beat Connecticut 3-1 in the best-of-five series. On the way to the finals, Las Vegas swept its opening round series against Phoenix and then beat Seattle 3-1 in the semifinals.
Wilson is the second Gamecock to play for a team that won a WNBA Championship. Petra Ujhelyi played for the 2003 champion Detroit Shock, appearing in the regular season but not the playoffs.