Las Vegas Aces Guardian Kelsey Plum said earlier this weekafter her team’s victory in the 2023 WNBA Finals over that Freedomthat New York is “not a team” and the players “don’t care about each other.”
Sabrina Ionescu And Jonquel Jones responded during exit interviews on Friday.
“This couldn’t be further from the truth,” Ionescu said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team that was more committed to each other than this year. We had players from all over the world come together in such a short period of time and engage each other – committed to changing roles – to try to win. And for a team as new as us, with so many different role changes, getting to the final is unprecedented.
“Of course people will say whatever they want. But I think we as a core understand the commitment we had to each other to get to this point. And I wouldn’t have wanted to do it to anyone else, and I’m so excited that we had the team that we had and that we convinced each other because it’s difficult to get to this point. … So I think you don’t lose sight of that part of the fight – – That’s part of figuring it out what it takes to get to the top.”
Jones called Plum’s comments “classless.”
“She’s not in our locker room,” Jones said. “She doesn’t know what’s going on in our locker room. … I think it’s easy to kick people when they’re down and you’re up. And honestly and truly, to me it felt kind of classless. “You won a championship. You can celebrate. You get to talk about things your team did to be successful. But essentially you’re choosing to turn on someone else.”
Plum took to social media after Jones’ quote made the rounds.
“Since the media wants to engage in click baiting, I will stop this drama immediately so we can move on and be at peace.” Plum wrote. “What I said was taken completely out of context. I tried to articulate to my teammates and I went through a lot and we used our connection to get through the crisis.”
“And getting through it won’t happen overnight. I’ve never been the type to throw shade, quite the opposite. I see how it worked out, it was never my intention and I apologize for it. Our game has grown tremendously through this series, hasn’t it? Don’t let this bullshit take away from the biggest win here.”
After finishing the regular season 32-8 behind the Aces (34-6), the Liberty won the playoff series against the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun before losing in the finale to Las Vegas in four games of five.
“They’re really good individuals, but they don’t care about each other,” Plum originally said in part. “And you notice that in these moments. They go back to individual basketball.”
“So we knew we just had to keep going, keep getting stops, keep getting rebounds, space the floor and have people make good plays. But we were a team. And that’s been the case all year long.”