LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Aces hosted the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night and showed them how a championship team dominates.
This wasn't just the 2022 WNBA championship celebration night for the Aces, who blew out the Sparks, 93-65. It was also head coach Becky Hammon's first game back on the bench after serving a two-game suspension. Hammon was suspended for the first two games of the season following a WNBA investigation that found the franchise violated league rules regarding impermissible player benefits and workplace policies involving former Ace Dearica Hamby. The WNBA also rescinded the Aces' 2025 first-round draft pick.
"This is my 25th year, in either the WNBA or NBA and this is truly my home space," Hammon said about her return. "It was definitely nice to get out there and be with my team. But honestly, they've been so awesome through this, this whole thing. They know how to make me smile for sure. It was nice to have this moment with them."
The Aces started their season 2-0 without Hammon, which included a 94-85 victory against these same Sparks on Thursday in Los Angeles.
After enjoying the excitement of receiving their championships rings, and raising the title banner, the Aces quickly showed how determined they are to defend their championship.
The Aces dominated early, as A'ja Wilson opened the game up with two easy baskets, and the Aces never took their foot off the gas.
Las Vegas finished the first half with a 31-point lead after WNBA Finals MVP Chelsea Gray knocked down a 31-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 28, 2023
Kelsey Plum and Wilson combined for 30 first-half points for the Aces.
The Aces (3-0) continued their dominance in the second half and cruised to a 28-point victory, preserving their undefeated record. Plum finished with 19 points and 5 assists, and Wilson had 23 points and 6 rebounds.
Wilson spoke on the pressure of pursuing a second title: "I try not to look at it as defending a title, or wanting to go back to back. I just approach it the same way I did the first one, I think we all do ... if we look at it in that way, we're gonna put more pressure on ourselves and it's downhill from there. I'm so glad that we got this ring out of the way because that's just one distraction to put us aside and now we can really focus on and lock in. But we know that target on our back is now a lot bigger. With that being said we work a lot harder."
The Aces continue their quest for another championship with this win against Sparks (1-2), and Hammon looks as if she hasn't missed a beat.