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Celebrating the 2023 WNBA Finals With Sabrina Ionescu, Kelsey Plum & The ETCs

As the action returns, get hyped for another Aces-Liberty clash with the best moments from Boardroom’s “The ETCs” starring the superteams’ respective All-Star point guards.

The 2023 WNBA Finals reached a fever pitch on Oct. 15 when a sold-out crowd nearly jettisoned the Barclays Center roof into low Earth orbit as the New York Liberty exacted an 87-73 victory in a must-win Game 3 against the Las Vegas Aces. Dealing out the dimes was none other than Sabrina Ionescu, the All-WNBA point guard whose 11 assists nearly doubled any other player’s total.

Leading all scorers? Kelsey Plum, whose 29 weren’t enough to seal a second straight championship for visiting Vegas.

A couple of savvy, slick point guards trading jabs on their sport’s biggest stage is nothing new, but this tete-a-tete was also a bit poetic: These two both appeared as co-hosts this year alongside Eddie Gonzalez on episodes of Boardroom’s “The ETCs.”

The timing couldn’t have been better.

Ahead of tipoff in Game 4 on Wednesday night, hear from two of the W’s best on what it takes to build a winner — and be sure to subscribe to “The ETCs” on the podcast platform of your choice.

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Sabrina Ionescu

Click here to download and listen to the full episode.

Recruiting a Liberty superteam

I knew as soon as the [2022] season ended, there’s gonna be a big free agency for us. It was something — you know, we had talked to [Breanna Stewart] last year and tried to get her as well. She’s from New York, and so, you know, let the season play on, and as soon as the offseason hit, you know, our team was talking to her, our owners, organization, and so I knew it was a possibility. And then she came out, visited, it was public knowledge, so at that point, I was able to reach out to her, talk to her.

So, Jonquel [Jones] came and Stewie came and then Courtney Vandersloot came, so now, it’s kind of the talk of the town. It’s what everyone’s talking about, but it’s something that we definitely had to work to be able to recruit those type of players in New York.

Sealing the deal

It was like the day before, she was sending these emojis, and when you’re on the team, you don’t wanna press them too much and do too much — let players make the decision with their families, because it’s a big decision. She was drafted there, won MVPs, just won a championship there, so I know it was a big decision.

You don’t want to press too much, but you also don’t want to go radio silent, you know, they feel like they aren’t welcome there, and so I wasn’t trying to find the middle ground in being able to reach out. So, the day before I thought it could happen, but until I see it on ESPN and on my timeline, that “breaking news,” I didn’t believe it. So, I saw it and I was just so happy.

What it takes to win in 2023

I think everyone will feel that pressure, and for me, I always wanted to win. I was wanting to win a championship last year, granted I knew that we didn’t have the team to be able to do so, and now we do.

There’s just this level of hard work, and dedication that you have to put in, and that can’t come two or three weeks into the season. You gotta figure that out from the beginning. It’s gonna take a lot of hard work, sacrifice — some players aren’t going to be able to shoot 30 shots a game now because you’re looking over and you’ve got Jonquel, Stewie, like, we’re gonna have to be able to really work together and get to know each other really quickly on the court.

But I think when everyone’s bought into wanting to win, anything can happen and people will sacrifice and do what’s best for the team.

Kelsey Plum

Click here to download and listen to the full episode.

Is there a “defending champion’s mindset?”

You know, to be honest, like, that’s not the way my brain works. I don’t care. It’s a very free way to live. Just very unattached.

Las Vegas as a true sports city

Oh, Vegas is poppin’, and it’s so much more than the Strip. The community loves their sports, loves winning, and you can see that in the way they show up and show out for all their teams.

So, I feel like anyone that’s coming here is gonna be successful because of the community that’s around, you know? And it’s really cool to see how it’s grown and continues to grow. Shout-out to the Knights for bringing that home. We want to create a winning culture here, and it’s a privilege to play in Las Vegas.

The locals want basketball, want baseball. Obviously, I’m not an expert, the traffic might suck, but other than that, I think it’s really exciting and it does great for bringing in revenue to the city. We want income, you know what I’m saying? Jobs. It does nothing but help us. So, as a taxpaying local, I can tell you I’m all for it.

Does a WNBA champ even have to be “super”?

So, I have a lot of thoughts. It’s so funny because at the start of last season, we were picked fifth. So, take Candace [Parker] and [Alysha Clark] off the roster — that don’t sound like a superteam to me — and then we ended up winning. We lost Dearica, but we gained Candace and Alysha.

It’s just so interesting to me because I look at some of the great teams in WNBA history: Like, for me, watching Minnesota, they won four championships. Was that a superteam? What about LA with Candace and Alana [Beard] and Nneka [Ogumwike] and [Chelsea Gray] and [Kristi] Toliver, like, was that a superteam? Obviously, you look back to Houston when they won their championships, were they a superteam, or where they just really good players that got better every year?

For example, we’re doing well, winning games by whatever margin, and I’m like, I just appreciate that my teammates went and worked in the offseason and got better. Can that be the narrative?

Personally, until we win another championship and then go on that third season, what are we talking about? We won one championship. Like, everyone, let’s calm down.

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.