Aces clinch #1 overall seed in playoffs, defending champion Mystics earn 8th berth

Photo Credit: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images

With the wubble regular season in the books and the postseason on the horizon, it is now all about contending for the 2020 WNBA championship.

After Sunday’s slate of games, the playoff picture at the outset is officially set in stone. It became much clearer after a nationally-televised contest on ABC between the top two seeds in the W – the Seattle Storm and the Las Vegas Aces.

The two best teams in the WNBA looked like the two best teams in the WNBA, but the Aces were two points better than the Storm on Sunday afternoon, as they topped Seattle by a final of 86-84.

Seattle was short-handed as the Storm were without their two marquee players in Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird.

The Storm still adopted the next one up mentality as Jewell Loyd, considered to be the third cog in the Storm’s big three tallied 30 points to lead all scorers. Alysha Clark added 16 with Mercedes Russell hauling in 11 rebounds and Natasha Howard bringing in seven.

A total of 23 points each were scored by A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby (who came in off the bench). Danielle Robinson scored 13 and Kayla McBride finished with 10. Hamby also dished out eight assists and Carolyn Swords got eight rebounds.

The good news for the Storm is the double bye – giving Stewie and Bird plenty of time to heal prior to tipping off in the semifinals.

It goes without saying that this year has been a trying one for the defending champion Washington Mystics. No Elena Delle Donne, no Tina Charles, no LaToya Sanders, no Natasha Cloud plus battling injuries all season.

But the Mystics still were in position to find postseason play late in the season – and Washington came through in the final game of the regular season via an 85-78 win over the Atlanta Dream.

Ariel Atkins led Washington with 26 points and five assists. Myisha Hines-Allen put in a double-double with 16 points plus 10 rebounds. Emma Meesseman scored 14 points and dished out seven assists. Kiara Leslie contributed 11 points.

Betnijah Laney scored 27 and Chennedy Carter added 26 for Atlanta with Courtney Williams distributing 11 assists.

The WNBA’s playoff picture has the Aces and Storm earning double byes into the semifinals with the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx earning single byes to the single-elimination second round. Tuesday will see a pair of single-elimination contests as the Connecticut Sun take on the Chicago Sky and the Mystics face off against the Phoenix Mercury.

This means that the same eight teams that made last year’s WNBA postseason are back again for more this year with the Dallas Wings, Atlanta Dream, Indiana Fever and New York Liberty looking to the lottery.

All of the playoff games will be carried via ESPN’s family of channels.

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