UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Becky Hammon’s journey to becoming head coach of the Las Vegas Aces was one that involved a great deal of adversity. The 5-foot-6 guard from Rapid City, South Dakota, had many bets against her for a successful basketball career.
Despite the critics that doubted her, Hammon recently defied all odds and brought the Las Vegas Aces to a WNBA title in a 78-71 road win over the Connecticut Sun in Game 4. The six-time WNBA All-Star became the first head coach in WNBA history to win a title her debut season.
The Las Vegas Aces showed resiliency and determination as they led by two points at the half and four points after three quarters. They held a six-point lead in the fourth. After receiving a foul on the three-point line, Bonner hit all three free throws before Jones' short jumper cut the lead to a point. The Sun then tied the game at 67 on free throw by Courtney Williams and took a 71-70 lead on two fouls shots from Brionna Jones.
But this wouldn't stop the Aces.
Riquna Williams’ three-pointer put the Aces back on top and Gray's step-back jumper extended the lead back to 75-71 with under a minute left. A'ja Wilson then stole a pass and Plum hit a short jump shot to secure the win.
Vegas finished on an 8-0 run. As the buzzer sounded, league MVP A’ja Wilson, who played every minute of the game, grabbed the ball and stomped the floor before being mobbed by her teammates.
“We champs! We champs! We champs!” Wilson screamed at teammates as they pulled on their championship hats and T-shirts before the trophy ceremony.
For Coach Hammon, who didn’t get a title in her standout WNBA career, the ring completed a decades-long quest. She left an assistant coach position with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs to take over in Las Vegas. The move paid off.
“They’re unbelievable on the court, but they’re unbelievable humans, first and foremost,” Hammon said. “They care about each other. They invest in each other. It’s been an absolute honor to be their coach. I saw excellence and I wanted to be a part of it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.