The Keys to Victory

My Takeaways from the 2022 WNBA Finals


Photo by Natalya Shelton

The 2022 WNBA finals took place between the Las Vegas Aces and Connecticut Sun. After many highlights and memorable moments, the Aces came out victorious. – Made in Canvas

Watching the 2022 WNBA finals was the sports world’s equivalent of riding a roller coaster. Seeing the Las Vegas Aces take a formidable 2-0 lead over the Connecticut Sun early in the series just to watch them get smacked by 30 in Game 3 was the curveball that every good basketball series needs. Ultimately, the Sun would succumb to the Aces in four games, but I think there were definitely some stand out moments on both sides. So, here are my key takeaways from the 2022 WNBA finals.

  • No one could stop A’ja Wilson

There is only one word to describe A’ja Wilson in this series: dominant. This year’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, Wilson averaged a near double-double for the series, with 20 points and 9.8 rebounds a game, including a monstrous 26 point, 10 rebound showing in Game 2. The left-handed post was able to get to her dominant side with ease, finishing through contact and knocking down free throws. When the Aces struggled, Wilson was the consistent offensive threat and defensive anchor.

  • Kelsey Plum struggled, but not really

For the 2022 regular season, Kelsey Plum averaged a career best 20 points and 5 assists per game while also shooting a scorching 42% from behind the arc. Plum’s finals statistics took a noticeable dip to 14.5 points and 4.5 assists per game, while her 3-point percentage plummeted to below 30%. But this is a case where the stats don’t tell the whole story. While Plum did appear uncomfortable at times, she was still slicing through the Sun’s defense like a knife through butter, and gave the Aces’ offense tempo when they desperately needed it. 

  • No one could stop Chelsea Gray, except for Dewanna Bonner 

In Games 1 and 2, Natisha Hiedeman and Odyssey Sims were the primary defenders on Chelsea Gray, and in both games she absolutely torched them for over 20 points. But in Game 3, the two 5-foot-8 defenders were replaced with 6-foot-4 giant Dewanna Bonner as Gray’s primary defender. This, paired with an aggressive hedge from an extra defender, affected Gray’s ability to facilitate the Aces’ offense and get to the rim, as she only had 11 points in Game 3. Watching the Sun’s flawless execution of this defensive scheme was incredible and they were rewarded with a 29-point win. 

  • The way Alyssa Thomas picked apart the Aces’ defense shouldn’t be possible

Let’s get something out of the way: Alyssa Thomas has been playing with a torn labrum in both of her shoulders for years now which has led to her unorthodox shooting form. You would think this would make it hard for her to get anything done on a basketball court, but I can assure you, that wasn’t the case at all. Not only did Thomas surprise the Aces with her jumpshot, but she also dominated down low, using her trademarked physicality and grit to make any match up with her look like a 5-year-old guarding Lebron James. Thomas recorded back-to-back triple-doubles in Games 3 and 4, which are the first and only triple-doubles in finals history. Thomas’ performance filled me with equal parts disbelief and amazement. 

  • DeWanna Bonner was the most infuriating player to watch by far

I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it was to watch Dewanna Bonner throw up a shot, miss by a mile, then complain to the referee about getting fouled. The fact that a two-time WNBA champion, and four-time All-Star managed to average an abysmal 8 points per game in the finals is beyond me. Bonner’s inconsistency was actually impressive as her respectable 18 point performance in Game 3 is overshadowed by her scoring a combined 5 points in Games 1 and 2. With Bonner being such a pivotal part of the Sun’s offense, the fact that she made such a subpar impact was unfortunate.

  • Jonquel Jones’ impact cannot be overstated

Last year’s MVP definitely reminded people why she won the award. While at first glance her 16 points and 8 rebounds a game may seem pretty tame, the impact of her presence cannot be overlooked. Jones was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, where she did most of her scoring, but she also stepped out to knock down a couple 3-pointers which, for a 6-foot-6 forward, was quite impressive to watch. Jones was a consistent threat for the Sun and played a solid series.

  • A finals that will go down in history 

While both teams had their ups and downs, there is no denying that this finals will leave a lasting impact. With the Aces’ victory, head coach Becky Hammon became the first rookie coach in WNBA history to win a championship. The victory also marks the first title in the history of the Aces’ franchise. The Sun scoring 34 points in the first quarter of Game 3 became the most scored in the opening quarter of a finals game, and we also got to witness the first triple-double in finals history. 

While there were definitely some shaky moments, the 2022 WNBA finals will be an important chapter in the history of women’s basketball. From the abundant supply of awe-inspiring accomplishments, to the occasional face palmable moment throughout, this finals series was definitely one for the ages.