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Indiana native Jackie Young shines in 2023 WNBA Finals

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Update 10/19/2023: Indiana native Jackie Young and the Las Vegas Aces defeated the New York Liberty 70-69 in Game 4 to win the 2023 WNBA Finals. This is Young’s second championship in her short career.

The Las Vegas Aces are up 2-0 against the New York Liberty in the 2023 WNBA Finals. Aces guard and Indiana native Jackie Young is a big reason why Las Vegas is one game away from winning the 2023 WNBA Championship.

“I just try to be aggressive the whole game and take what the defense is giving me,” Young said in a post-game interview after game one of the 2023 WNBA Finals against the New York Liberty. The Indiana native posted an impressive 26 points, four assists and five rebounds in the contest.

No. 1 draft pick Young joined the Las Vegas Aces by way of Princeton, IN in 2019. Before her professional career, Young dazzled fans and coaches alike with her stellar play in high school and on a college level. Young is a product of Princeton Community High School. Young entered the program in 2012. During her time at Princeton, Young averaged a monstrous 30.9 points and 5.5 assists per game. Young also shined on defense in high school, averaging 10.2 boards and an impressive 3.5 steals per contest. The two-way guard was efficient, shooting 58% from the field and 38% from behind the arc.

Indiana native and Las Vegas Aces rising star Jackie Young shines in 2023 WNBA Finals against MVP Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty.
Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young (0) celebrates after a play against the New York Liberty during the second half in Game 2 of a WNBA basketball final playoff series Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Photo/John Locher)

Young’s time at Princeton was almost exclusively filled with wins. Young led Princeton to 53 straight wins, securing the Indiana Class 3A State Championship in 2015. The Princeton product racked up two MaxPreps Player of the Year awards (2013-14, 2015-16), Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year (2016), IndyStar Miss Basketball (2016) and four All-State selections before graduating in 2016. Young remained grounded in Indiana by joining the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team.

2023 WNBA All-Star weekend
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 15: Arike Ogunbowale #24, DeWanna Bonner #24, A’ja Wilson #22, Aliyah Boston #7, Cheyenne Parker #32, Rhyne Howard #10, Allisha Gray #15, Kelsey Plum #10, Head Coach Becky Hammon, Chelsea Gray #12, Jackie Young #0 and Alyssa Thomas #25 of Team Wilson pose for a portrait during the 2023 WNBA All-Star Game on July 15, 2023 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

During her time in South Bend, Young put on a show for the Fighting Irish. Young averaged 12.4 points, 3.5 assists and 6.3 rebounds per contest while shooting 51%/36%/79% splits. The Indiana native became an ACC-All-Freshman in her first year with the Fighting Irish. Young won a national championship, besting Mississippi State with a game-tying jump shot that would eventually lead to the win.

In a post-game interview following game one of the 2023 WNBA Finals, Las Vegas All-Star A’ja Wilson shared her thoughts on Young and her time in South Bend.

“Jackie is my favorite Fighting Irish,” Wilson said. “They have some good guards. When you talk about Notre Dame, they are [Guard University]. They are pro-ready; they are hard workers. She is definitely a Hall of Famer for Norte Dame, for sure, for women’s basketball in my book.”

Indiana native and WNBA champion Jackie Young alongside Las Vegas Aces DPOY and MVP A'ja Wilson during their 2023 WNBA Finals run.
Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson, left, and guard Jackie Young celebrates after a play against the New York Liberty during the first half in Game 2 of a WNBA basketball final playoff series Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Photo/John Locher)

Not much changed when Young entered the WNBA in 2019. Since joining the league, Young has secured two All-Star selections and a championship in 2022. Currently, Young is averaging 18 points, 4.7 assists and 6.4 rebounds in the playoffs.

In game two of the 2023 WNBA Finals, Young continued her stellar play from the first contest. Young put up 24 points, four assists and eight rebounds against MVP Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty. Aces All-Star guard Kelsey Plum and Defensive Player of the Year Wilson backed Young’s performance, putting up 26 and 23, respectively.

According to the WNBA’s official website, no team has ever come back from a 0-2 deficit in a best-of-five series (0-17). Young and the Las Vegas Aces have a chance to put the New York Liberty away with a 3-0 sweep on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m., streaming on ESPN on ABC and Sling TV.

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more news on Jackie Young and her WNBA Finals run courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here. You can also check out the Indiana Minority Business Magazine by clicking here.

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