2022 WNBA Finals: Las Vegas Aces vs. Connecticut Solar preview, keys to collection, gamers to look at, prediction

September 10, 2022

The 2022 WNBA Finals are set, and can function the No. 1 total seed Las Vegas Aces towards the No. 3 Connecticut Solar. Las Vegas has home-court benefit for this best-of-five collection, and can host Recreation 1 on Sunday afternoon. 

After cruising previous the Phoenix Mercury within the first spherical, the Aces confronted Breanna Stewart and Seattle Storm within the semifinals. Regardless of dropping Recreation 1 of that collection, they bounced again to win three straight and take the collection in thrilling vogue. A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Grey had been phenomenal in what’s going to go down as among the best playoff collection in league historical past.

As for the Solar, they’d some bother within the first spherical and wanted to win Recreation 3 on the highway towards the Dallas Wings to sneak into the semifinals. There, they confronted the defending champion Chicago Sky and went down 2-1 earlier than battling again and finally successful the collection with a shocking fourth-quarter comeback Recreation 5. 

Now, the Aces and Solar will meet to find out this season’s champion. This is the whole lot it’s essential to know in regards to the matchup:

No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 3 Connecticut Solar 

All instances Jap 

  • Recreation 1: Solar at Aces | Sunday, Sept. 11, 3 p.m. | TV: ABC | Stream: fuboTV (Strive without spending a dime)
  • Recreation 2: Solar at Aces | Tuesday, Sept. 13, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV
  • Recreation 3: Aces at Solar | Thursday, Sept. 15, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV
  • Recreation 4*: Aces at Solar | Sunday, Sept. 18, 4 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV
  • Recreation 5*: Solar at Aces | Tuesday, Sept. 20, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV

*If mandatory

Gamers to look at

Aces: A’ja Wilson

Earlier this week, Wilson was named MVP for the second time in her profession, and within the course of grew to become the fifth participant in league historical past to win each that award and Defensive Participant of the 12 months in the identical season. Because the Aces’ finest participant she is the main target of each opponents’ recreation plan, and there have been just a few instances this postseason the place groups have been capable of hold her quiet by stopping her from getting concerned. When she is ready to get touches, although, she dominates. She’s averaging 20.5 factors, 10.8 rebounds and a pair of.3 blocks per recreation within the playoffs, and within the semifinals made historical past as the primary participant to have consecutive 30-point, 10-rebound video games within the postseason. 

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Solar: Jonquel Jones

On the opposite facet, the Solar boast the 2021 MVP. This has been a considerably unusual and irritating season for Jones, who was notably benched late within the fourth quarter of the Solar’s Recreation 3 loss to the Sky within the semifinals. She has not been her ordinary self, nor has she seen her ordinary touches or taking part in time as a result of return of Alyssa Thomas. Nonetheless, Jones is placing up 14.4 factors, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per recreation within the postseason, and there have been flashes of her brilliance. The Solar will want her at her finest this collection in the event that they wish to pull off the upset. 

Three storylines/keys to the collection

1. Can Chelsea Grey hold this up?

Chelsea Grey’s brilliance has been one of many greatest storylines over the previous three weeks. Again and again she has provide you with large photographs for the Aces in crunch time, and has arguably been the perfect participant of all the playoffs. She’s averaging 24 factors, 4.3 rebounds and seven.7 assists; coming into the Finals she is second in scoring and first in assists for the playoffs. 

Much more spectacular is how environment friendly she’s been within the course of. Regardless of most of her photographs being pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers which were properly defended, Grey’s taking pictures 62.6 p.c from the sphere and 59.5 p.c from 3-point land. She boasts a 75.8 true taking pictures proportion, which is on tempo to be the perfect ever for a playoff run in both the WNBA or NBA. 

This simply could be the best taking pictures run we have ever seen in skilled basketball on this nation. That the Aces have solely performed six playoff video games up to now is all that is holding her case from being definitive. Ought to she hold this up within the Finals, her case will likely be definitive. 

However can she achieve this? The preliminary thought is to say no, since you would anticipate the regulation of averages to meet up with her. It hasn’t but, although, and the Solar would not have many nice choices for making an attempt to protect her. Each Natisha Hiedeman and Courtney Williams can have bother coping with Grey’s measurement and energy on the level guard place; in the event that they Solar give the job to an even bigger ahead like DeWanna Bonner, that can simply go away them undersized elsewhere. This might be a collection the place we see extra of Odyssey Sims and Dijonai Carrington off the bench. 

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If Grey maintains this degree of efficiency, the Aces will virtually actually win the title, but when she regresses to “superb” as an alternative of “traditionally dominant” that opens the door for the Solar. 

2. Which group will impose their will?

With new head coach Becky Hammon implementing a extra fashionable model, the Aces had been the perfect offensive group within the league this season by a large margin. They completed first in tempo (98.64), 3-point proportion ( 36.1) and turnover proportion (14.1). And their 109.6 offensive score was second solely to the 2019 Washington Mystics within the historical past of the league. They unfold the ground, play quick and are unstoppable at instances, notably when their small-ball lineup is on the court docket. 

On the opposite facet, the Solar are extra of an old-fashioned operation. Their 4 finest gamers are all energy forwards or facilities, and so they dangle their hat on protection, toughness and physicality. That they had the second-best defensive score within the league (96.3), the perfect offensive rebounding fee (37.1) of any group because the 2015 Atlanta Dream and scored 46.2 p.c of their factors within the paint. 

Nothing tells the story higher, particularly on the offensive facet of the ball, than the truth that throughout this postseason the Aces set a brand new report for 3-pointers made in a recreation (23) and the Solar set a brand new playoff report for factors within the paint in a recreation (66). 

Following the Solar’s Recreation 5 win over the Chicago Sky within the semifinals, Jonquel Jones advised CBS Sports activities that whichever group imposes their will goes to win. 

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“I believe for us we’re gonna should make it a messy recreation once more,” Jones stated. “You bought quite a lot of iso ball with Chelsea Grey, you bought A’ja [Wilson] who can rating the ball in quite a lot of other ways. I believe the fantastic thing about the sport is that we’re a extremely good defensive group and so they’re a extremely good offensive group. It is gonna be a battle of the wills.”

If this can be a free-flowing, up-and-down collection, the Aces will win; they’ve an excessive amount of offensive firepower. If the Solar can achieve mucking issues up and turning each possession into an actual grind, they’re going to have an opportunity. 

3. Historical past on the road

There are a selection of parallels between these two groups, who’ve had loads of success in current seasons. For the Aces, that is their fourth consecutive playoff look; they’ve been to at the least the semifinals on all 4 events and are making their second Finals look on this stretch. The Solar, in the meantime, have been to the playoffs in six consecutive seasons; they’ve additionally been to 4 consecutive semifinals and are likewise within the Finals for the second time on this run. 

Neither group has been capable of break via and win all of it, although. The Aces had been swept by the Seattle Storm within the 2020 Finals, whereas the Solar misplaced to the Washington Mystics in 5 video games within the 2019 Finals. Actually, neither group has ever received a championship. The Aces are 0-2 all time within the Finals, whereas the Solar are 0-3. Together with the New York Liberty and Atlanta Dream they’re among the many 4 lively franchises and not using a trophy. 

One thing has to offer this season. Considered one of these groups will finish their title drought and turn into the eleventh franchise in WNBA historical past to win all of it. 

Prediction

The Aces enter this collection as clear favorites (-280 to win the collection per Caesars Sportsbook), and for good cause contemplating they’re a traditionally good offensive group and have home-court benefit. In the long run, these two components ought to show the distinction. Strive as they’ll to make this an unsightly, bodily scrap, it is simply onerous to see how they sustain with the Aces. Decide: Aces in 4