Women's Basketball: Las Vegas Sets the Standard - Sport

The Las Vegas Aces have won the WNBA title and there are so many stories to tell.

About Riquna Williams, who experienced unremarkable playoffs - and now surpassed herself with 17 points in the 78:71 victory in the fourth game of the final series against the Connecticut Suns. About Chelsea Grey, who was named Finals Series MVP and received the respect she was denied when she was selected to the All-Star Team (she was the only Aces regular not invited), while Kelsey Plum, A'ja Wilson, Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby were there. About Las Vegas, which desperately wants to change from a sinful city to a sporty city with teams in ice hockey (Golden Knights), football (Raiders) and basketball (Aces), martial arts events and the Formula 1 race 2023 - and which was now able to celebrate its first important title.

About Coach Becky Hammon, of course, the first full-time assistant coach in men's league history NBA and first woman to head coach an NBA game, when she coached the San Antonio Spurs in the December 2020 game against the Los Angeles Lakers due to Gregg Popovich's illness. And about Mark Davis, owner of the legendary Raiders football franchise, who bought and turned the Aces inside out in February 2021. He brought in Hammon as head coach and paid her a seven-figure salary, becoming the first WNBA coach in history. Aces manager is Natalie Williams, who has already been immortalized in the sport's Hall of Fame and who has extended all the regular players' contracts to regular salaries (everyone earns six figures) long-term.

Griner is still in a Russian prison. Every minute, says US President Biden, is one too many

Davis has embraced his father Al's Raiders mantra ("Just win, baby!"), and it's not just applying to the field. He no longer wants the first game of the final series to take place at the same time as the first day of the NFL football league, for example. That has endangered the ratings this time - which were higher in the second match (650,000 live viewers).

"I want to set the standard here for the entire league. We can build something that's going to be sustainable," Davis said after Sunday's win, and he was able to take a dig at the other Vegas teams, including his Raiders (who... Lost the second game of the season on Sunday) couldn't resist: "The Raiders and Knights have to follow suit now - we will always be the first to win a title for Vegas."

Championship in the WNBA: "We can build something that is sustainably successful": Team owner Mark Davis and Aces coach Becky Hammon.

"We Can Build Something That Succeeds Sustainably": Team Owner Mark Davis and Aces Coach Becky Hammon.

(Photo: Maddie Meyer/AFP)

Those would all be great stories, but this WNBA season is one that's been overshadowed by that Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) has been in prison in Russia for seven months. A cartridge with hashish oil was found in her luggage at Moscow airport and she was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony in August. There have been reports over the past week that Griner isn't feeling well and that she feels like she's about to go insane.

The US and Russia are negotiating a prisoner swap. The US side said it had made a "significant offer" in July, but Russia has not responded to it. John Kirby of the National Security Council said Friday: "There is no answer. But that doesn't mean we stop negotiating." On Friday, US President Joe Biden met with Griner's wife, Cherelle, and assured her that he would explore all avenues for Griner's return as quickly as possible, saying that every additional minute under these conditions, which the US government described as "unacceptable", is one, according to Biden a lot of.

It seems that the WNBA season can only come to a conclusion with the return of Griner, which was also felt at the celebrations on Sunday. It is therefore only an interim result when one says: The Las Vegas Aces have won the title.

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