Liberty vs. Aces score: Las Vegas takes a 2-0 lead on New York with dominant WNBA Finals performance (2024)

The defending champion Las Vegas Aces are one win away from becoming the first team in two decades to repeat. They put together a dominant performance on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the 2023 WNBA Finals, leading by as much as 32 en route to a 104-76 win and a 2-0 series lead.

Kelsey Plum opened the game with a 3-pointer, before Kiah Stokes, who made just five 3s all season, added one of her own. That, in essence, was the game. It took fewer than three minutes for the Aces to build a double-digit lead, and they largely cruised the rest of the way. A late first-half run by the Liberty to briefly cut the deficit to single digits was the only time the outcome was even mildly in doubt.

The Aces delivered an offensive masterclass that the Liberty simply didn't have an answer for. They shot 52.9% from the field, 44.8% from 3-point land and 100% from the free throw line, assisted on 31 of their 37 field goals and turned it over just nine times. The degree of difficulty on many of their shots and passes was high, but they made every single play that mattered.

A'ja Wilson went off for 26 points and 15 rebounds, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum combined for 47 points and Chelsea Gray added 14 points, six rebounds and 11 assists.

No team has ever come back from an 0-2 series deficit in WNBA Finals history. At the moment, the Liberty don't look like they'll be the first, though they will get to return home to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Sunday.

Here are some key takeaways from the game:

Wilson has historic night

A few minutes into the game, A'ja Wilson ran a pick-and-roll with Chelsea Gray, and caught a slick feed from her point guard as she dove to the basket. Though she was met by Jonquel Jones, one of the best interior defenders in the league, Wilson's combination of strength and guile proved to be too much. She spun this way and that until she created a sliver of space, then took a foul from Jones and powered through for an and-one bucket.

That three-point play put the Aces up by double digits, and they never looked back. Neither did Wilson, who was spectacular all game long en route to 26 points and 15 rebounds. She is just the third player in WNBA history to have a 25-point, 15-rebound game in the Finals, joining, ironically, Jones and Breanna Stewart.

Among many terrific performances for the Aces, Wilson stood out as the best. She was the best player in the playoffs through the first two rounds, and has kept it up so far in this series. Her first Finals MVP is well within grasp if she can help the Aces close out this series.

Shooting variance continues

The Liberty were the best 3-point shooting team the WNBA has ever seen in the regular season, setting all-time records for makes per game and total makes, but they've gone ice cold in the playoffs. After a 8-for-35 (22.9%) clip in Game 2, they are now 70-for-222 (31.5%) in the playoffs.

While shooting variance certainly isn't all that's going on in this series, it has been a massive part, and it continued again on Wednesday. For the series, the Liberty are 5-of-27 on unguarded 3-pointers, per Synergy Sports, while the Aces are 9-of-18 on guarded 3-pointers. There's not much the Liberty can do when the Aces are hitting shots like this.

Making matters worse for the Liberty is that not only are they not scoring, their stream of bricked 3s has allowed the Aces to push the pace and play against an unsettled defense. It quickly becomes a cycle that's difficult to break. The only silver lining for the Liberty is that shooting luck can swing wildly, and they're heading back to Barclays Center for Game 3. Perhaps that will get them out of this slump.

History says series is over

The WNBA first began using a best-of-five format in the playoffs beginning in 2005, when it debuted for the Finals matchup between the Sacramento Monarchs and Connecticut Sun, which the Monarchs won in four games. Over the next decade, the best-of-five series was limited to use in the Finals, before being expanded to the semifinals in 2016.

This Finals matchup between the Aces and Liberty is the 35th best-of-five series ever played. Of the first 34 such match-ups, a team has taken a 2-0 lead 17 times. Every single one of those 17 teams have gone on to win the series, which suggests that Aces are going to close this out.

Whether it takes three, four or five games remains to be seen, but history says that this series is over. In order to win their first title in franchise history, the Liberty would have to do something that has never been done before in league history. That's a tall order against a team as great as the Aces.

Liberty vs. Aces score: Las Vegas takes a 2-0 lead on New York with dominant WNBA Finals performance (2024)
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