A’ja Wilson holds up WNBA Championship surrounded by her teammates. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Gamecocks all-time leading scorer A’ja Wilson added ‘WNBA champion” to her resume last night, helping the Las Vegas Aces win the team’s first title in franchise history.
Wilson averaged 20 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in the series and led the Aces in total points, rebounds, blocks and steals.
“We Champs! We Champs! We champs!” Wilson repeated in a post-game interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe.
The championship concluded an incredible season for the former Gamecock, as she was earlier named the league’s defensive player of the year and won her second MVP award.
“A’ja Wilson is a true Carolina legend,” said Bryce Warner, a 23-year-old Gamecocks fan from Charleston. “This is just the beginning for her and I look forward to seeing how much more she adds onto her legacy.”
Wilson’s teammate and Finals MVP point guard Chelsea Gray said 26-year-old Wilson, who now has won a championship at every level of play, should already be talked about as one of the league’s best-ever players.
“I think she’s building one heck of a legacy at a young age,” Gray said in a post-game news conference.
Wilson deflected personal legacy questions but said her teammates were a large reason as to why she continues to succeed.
“I know who I am, I feel like I’ve established myself in the league, and the Aces aren’t done,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she’s going to represent the University of South Carolina every chance she gets.
“This one’s for South Carolina – this one’s for my grandma,” said Wilson.
Wilson’s first WNBA championship came the same year as South Carolina’s second NCAA championship for the women’s team. Gamecocks Head Coach Dawn Staley tweeted her support of her former NCAA National Player of the Year.
“I’m so freaking happy for you!” tweeted Staley. “So very happy! You worked. You earned. You deserved!”
Devoted Gamecock fans — which Dawn Staley calls FAMs – such as USC alum Michael McManus, described a feeling of relief seeing Wilson lift the WNBA championship trophy.
“Just seeing the trajectory of her career, the only thing she was missing to cement her legacy was a title,” McManus said. “I know how hard she’s worked. … She deserved this.”
Wilson said she is hungry for more.
“This is what we’re building, this is what we’re doing,” Wilson said. “This is it. … Our journey is just beginning.”
A’ja Wilson’s statue outside of USC’s Colonial Life Arena. (Photo by Jayden Simmons)
Wilson goes up for a layup in the 2018 SEC Tournament. (Photo courtesy of South Carolina Athletics)
Wilson in her final game as a Gamecock. (Photo courtesy of South Carolina Athletics)
Wilson holds up a banner at the 2017 Championship Parade. (Photo courtesy of South Carolina Athletics)