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WNBA Playoffs: Can Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces derail? | WNBA

The WNBA Playoffs will be in full gear next week with a first round match on Thursday night. Here’s what to expect from the eight teams that made the cut:

8) New York Liberty

Current form Not good! Liberty’s Flashy Off-Season-Trade # 1 Pick in the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard Draft, Two-WNBA Champion Sami Whitcomb and 2020’s Most Improved Player Bethnya Rainey Added by Free Agency-5-1 Start. However, New York will be back on the floor Thursday night after returning to the first round of single elimination against Phoenix Mercury and winning only twice in the last 80 days. 12-20 records of their regular season 2010 Los Angeles Sparks Edge As the worst thing ever for the WNBA playoff team.

Player to watch Sabrina Ionescu became the face of her sport when she broke the mainstream of American sport like a few female basketball players in front of her during her sensational four-year college career in Oregon. However, I played only three games as a rookie before the end of the season injury. Liberty is undefeated this year when a 5-foot 11-inch playmaker scored a double-digit score and scored six out of eight when he scored more than eight assists.

How far can they go The Liberty team, which has no true center, has a nightmare of playing against Brittney Griner in Phoenix. Brittney Griner is one of the best post players ever, with an average of 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.Their upset hope may result in long range shooting: New York WNBA Three Pointer Single Season Record Set At 321.

Sabrinaionesque, a New York point guard, helped Liberty return to his first professional full-season playoffs. Photo: Meg Olifant / Getty Images

7) Dallas Wings

Current form Youthful Wings have won four of the last eight, including a lively fourth-quarter comeback against New York last week to secure a post-season berth and Sunday’s victory over Los Angeles, which denied Sparks. .. The inability to have a consistent lineup on the floor due to both injuries and the Covid-19 protocol too often complicates things for first-year coach Vickie Johnson.

Player to watch Sato Savary, who played for more than two months due to Achilles tendon pain, helped Wings clinch the playoff harbor in his first gameback. The team’s third best scorer (12.4 points per game) is an above average rebounder at both ends of the court, allowing dribbling to create scoring opportunities for himself or his teammates.

How far can they go ESPN’s Kevin Pelton states that the Dallas roster was combined to play 10 playoff games and 146 minutes. This is the lowest playoff list since the 2002 Seattle Storm. A one-off experience rift on the street can otherwise cause you to lose balance in a match.

6) Chicago Sky

Current form Like Wings, Chicago has entered the playoffs with a record of 4-4 in the last eight contests. They enjoy home-court advantage over Wings, but they haven’t defended particularly well during the regular season, winning only six of the 16 games at Wintrust Arena.

Player to watch You already know the familiar face: Off-season free agent additional Candace Parker was the first voting hall, and floor general Courtney Vandersloo was once again the WNBA’s assist leader. However, Sky’s second-best scorer, emerging star Diamond DeShields, tends to be the most accurate barometer of Chicago’s success. She also scored a career record of 30 points at the finale of Sunday’s regular season, making her the first player in WNBA history to score 30 points, five rebounds and five assists.

How far can they go The high-scoring Sky (83.3 points per game, third most in the WNBA) is more talented than the 16-16 ledger suggests. If they pass the tricky opener on Thursday, they will cause confusion in the second round of the fourth-seeded Minnesota Lynx and will staff Las Vegas Aces to advance to the final five WNBA semifinals.

5) Phoenix Mercury

Current form Mercury participates in the playoffs in a three-game skid, but these defeats have won ten consecutive victories against the elite outfits of Connecticut, Seattle and Las Vegas. They also suffered from a left ankle injury and may not have had Diana Torashi, the league’s highest scorer in history, who hasn’t played since the first week of September. But the other two Phoenix Big 3 gears, Skyler Digginssmith and Brittney Griner, candidates for the first team, All WNBA, still benefit from Mercury’s favorites, even when Taurashi isn’t available. increase.

Player to watch Former Notre Dame star Digginssmith, who has been in tears since helping the United States win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, is the only player in the league to average 17 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. As the regular season is over. For each game.

How far can they go Canceling all endangered Greener, Taurashi, and Digginssmith teams, Mercury ate at the WNBA’s Bottom Feeder this year in 10 out of 10 matches against opponents with less than 500 records. It is no exaggeration to say that we have won. Fighting the league’s top teams during the season is not a particularly good omen for performing deep playoffs.

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner, Diana Torashi
Mercury’s Skylar Diggins Big 3-Smith (4), Brittney Griner (42) and Diana Taurasi (3) averaged 53.4 with 82.1 points for this year’s team, nearly three minutes of Phoenix’s total attack output. It becomes 2 of. Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

4) Seattle Storm

Current form An active WNBA champion has been practicing in a few weeks since superstar Blair Ana Stewart lost what the team called a left leg injury on September 7 and questioned Seattle’s recurring hopes. Could not return to. Last Sunday there was an 81-53 thrashing in the hands of Los Angeles. This is the lowest of the season, more than 30 points below the average for the regular season. Worst regular season home loss In the history of the franchise – did little to calm anxiety.

Player to watch Obviously, Stewart. But it’s always best to look at Jewell Loyd, the former overall No. 1 at the University of Notre Dame, who can play at either guard spot, pouring 37 points into his second-round enemy Phoenix last Friday.

How far can they go Aiming to be the first consecutive WNBA champion since the 2001-02 LA Sparks, Storm will be tougher than anyone else if he’s just on the lookout for Stewart. That happened last year when Stewart missed the last two regular season matches before he dominated the postseason undefeated. And yes, they won three Connecticut this summer, including a spectacular beatdown in the Commissioner’s Cup final. But, in fact, Seattle betrayed the signs of vulnerability even before it was injured.

3) Minnesota Lynx

Current form Inform Lynx, which kicked off the season with four consecutive losses as various players completed their commitments abroad, has 17 of the last 20 games despite the injuries of key starters Aerial Powers, Layshia Clarendon and Damiris Dantas. And participated in the playoffs (a small part of Cheryl Reeve’s three WNBA Coach of the Year). All of their only defeats during the stretch were against the top two seeds of the tournament, twice in Connecticut and once in Las Vegas.

Player to watch The obvious answer is Sylvia Fowles. Sylvia Fowles is widely encouraged to win her fourth Defensive Player of the Year in her 14th WNBA season. But what makes the difference is the signer of a free agent from Washington who set her aside until the end of August, with a thumb injury that first pushed her aside due to a hamstring illness and then required surgery. It could be some powers. In seven games since returning to Minnesota’s five starting games, the 27-year-old Detroit indigenous people averaged 18.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

How far can they go The 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 WNBA champions haven’t played deeply since the end of the four titles. The bold off-season, which includes the signatures of Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa in addition to Powers, is in a position to do so. The fifth championship in 11 years is very within reach, even if it could be a WNBA semi-final showdown against the proud Las Vegas Aces.

2) Las Vegas Aces

Current form Motivated by the bitter aftertaste of last year’s WNBA Finals Sweep by Seattle, the deeply talented Ace closed the double-buy with a record of 24-8 in the regular season. He recognized the league of attack efficiency and 98.0 per 100, and finished second in the defense evaluation. Las Vegas is also the first WNBA team in history to score double digits on average for seven players, surpassing the previous five.

Player to watch Aja Wilson, an active WNBA MVP and 2018 Rookie of the Year, accelerating Las Vegas with 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, stirs drinks with straws. But what strengthened Ace’s claim as WNBA’s most formidable front court was the willingness of former scoring champion Liz Cambage to sacrifice attacks to focus on defense and rebounds.

How far can they go This is the WNBA’s deepest team, the Las Vegas Championship or Bust. 2 Dearica Hamby and Kelsey Plum’s sixth Woman of the Year candidate, both effectively becoming daily starters for other teams.

1) Connecticut Sun

Current form After closing the slate on Sunday, Sun entered the playoffs with 14 consecutive victories and won the Atlanta Dream with 20 points. They won the No. 1 seed with a record of 26-6, set a winning franchise record, and ranked first with more than 4 points (93.7) in defense efficiency. It’s been more than 10 weeks since I lost the regular season match, but since the Olympic break, I’ve increased my average winning margin to 15.8 points and somehow seemed even scarier these days.

Player to watch As the best player on the best team, John Kell Jones is likely to win the trophy for her first and most valuable player ahead of Greener, Wilson and Tina Charles. There is no shortage of evidence from advanced statistics – for beginners, Jones managed a true shooting rate of 61.4% despite her career’s highest utilization (26.3%) – but a coarser metric. Tells a similar story: Connecticut was 24-3 with Jones in the lineup, 2-3 in her absence.

How far can they go Defensively healthy Sun is exorbitant after banner campaigns that are likely to end with a swarm of individual silverware, including Jonquel Jones’ MVP, Brionna Jones’ Most Valuable Player Award, and Kurt Miller’s Coach of the Year. It is a favorite of the title.and it is Previous They welcomed veteran stubborn Alyssa Thomas from an Achilles tendon injury in the final round of the regular season. There are nine days off before the opening round of the playoffs, and it seems that only Ring Sabi could slow Miller’s freight train, perhaps against Seattle or Phoenix.



WNBA Playoffs: Can Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces derail? | WNBA

Source link WNBA Playoffs: Can Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces derail? | WNBA

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