The Daily Gamecock

Former South Carolina women's basketball star A'ja Wilson leads Las Vegas Aces to first WNBA championship

<p>A'ja Wilson shooting a free throw during a game between the Minnesota Lynx and Las Vegas Aces at Target Center in Minneapolis, M.N. on June 1, 2019. The Aces won the game 80-75.</p>
A'ja Wilson shooting a free throw during a game between the Minnesota Lynx and Las Vegas Aces at Target Center in Minneapolis, M.N. on June 1, 2019. The Aces won the game 80-75.

Las Vegas Aces forward and former South Carolina women's basketball stand-out A'ja Wilson won her first WNBA championship Sunday after defeating the Connecticut Sun 77-71 in game four of the WNBA Finals.

The championship victory caps a season, which saw Wilson garner numerous accolades -- including the league's Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of The Year awards. She was also named a unanimous selection to the All-WNBA First Team and a team captain at this season's All-Star Game.

"This is amazing. Like honestly, our team fought through — we were resilient, we held each other accountable, and we just stuck it through," Wilson told ESPN's Holly Rowe in a post-game interview. "We didn't get too high with our highs ... or get too lows with our lows, but, man, we champs!"

Wilson earned her third double-double of the series in the Aces' title-clinching victory, scoring 11 points and grabbing 14 rebounds while playing every second of the game. Although she made many positive contributions to the team, Wilson gave credit to her teammates for helping to bring a championship to Las Vegas.

"I don't win without my teammates, so this moment right here, this year right here, is something I am never going to forget," Wilson said.

Wilson specifically gave special praise to point guard and WNBA Finals MVP Chelsea Gray for making her job on the court much easier.

"You put in the work in the offseason and get it done," Wilson said. "When you got a point guard like Chelsea Gray, I ain't even worried about a damn thing." 

Wilson was previously named WNBA MVP in 2020 and Rookie of the Year in 2018, but she said winning a championship is what cements her legacy as a professional basketball player.

"Winning a championship is something that no one can ever take from you, and once you got that down, you are in the books forever," Wilson said. "When you're talking about a legacy, you have to win, and I don't win without my teammates."

Wilson also mentioned her time at USC as an important step in her journey to where she is today.

"They made me who I am through and through, and if I can put South Carolina on the map every chance I get, I will," Wilson said. "That city has built, me has raised me, and I know my grandma and grandpa are somewhere shining down on me ... so this one's for South Carolina and this one's for my grandma." 

Less than an hour after Wilson celebrated with her teammates in the Mohegan Sun Arena, she expressed her desire to win another championship and create a dynasty in Las Vegas.

"I'm not going to be like (LeBron James) and naming off numbers and stuff, but this isn't going to be the first," Wilson said. "I'm just so glad I can celebrate this with Chelsea and everyone else because we worked so hard to get to this moment, so for this to a part of my legacy, a part of my journey, I am blessed."


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