Storm, Aces, Sparks become first teams to clinch playoff berths

Photo Credit: Stephen Gosling/NBAE/Getty Images

It is hard to believe, still. But we are more than halfway through this most unusual of WNBA seasons – and while it feels like one that has simply come and gone, we are starting to catch a glimpse of what the playoff picture is resembling.

As of today, three teams in the WNBA have clinched a playoff berth. Those three are the Seattle Storm, Las Vegas Aces and Los Angeles Sparks. On August 29, the Storm punched its postseason ticket on the heels of an 88-74 victory over another team that is likely to see postseason action in the Chicago Sky.

The Storm has consistently been one of the top teams from when play first tipped off in the wubble – and that still remained true to this day. Seattle, as of today, boasts a 13-3 record and, as we have mentioned in the past, is fully healthy.

Breanna Stewart, an MVP candidate, scored 21 points with eight rebounds in the game against the Sky. Natasha Howard managed a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Jewell Loyd finished with 12 points. Alysha Clark finished with 11 points and Epiphanny Prince tallied 10.

Kahleah Copper scored 19. Ruthy Hebard and Allie Quigley each finished with 11 for a team that was shorthanded with no Diamond DeShields and no Azura Stevens. Gabby Williams scored 10.

So much for our prediction that the Liz Cambage-less Las Vegas Aces would take a major hit this year. About two-thirds of the season is complete and the Aces with A’ja Wilson – another MVP candidate – and Angel McCoughtry leading the way look like they one of the final two teams standing.

Bill Laimbeer’s Aces earned its berth to the W’s postseason by virtue of an 80-63 win over the team he formerly coached – the New York Liberty.

Las Vegas got 20 points from Wilson, 17 points and 10 rebounds via Dearica Hamby, 12 from ex-Lib Sugar Rodgers, plus 10 each from Kayla McBride and McCoughtry.

Paris Kea led New York with 14 points. Kiah Stokes finished with 12 and Layshia Clarendon tallied 10. Amanda Zahui B hauled in a staggering 21 rebounds, but she made noteworthy news for not answering basketball-related questions in her postgame presser.

Well said, AZB. Well said.

Do not look now – but the Los Angeles Sparks are once again in the thick of things – and they are doing so in the throes of a nine-game winning streak.

That ninth game was one that signifying LA’s place in this year’s playoffs as they defeated the Atlanta Dream by a final of 84-79.

Brittney Sykes finished with 15 points and Chelsea Gray added 14. Candace Parker also added 10 rebounds, but the win was marred because of an injury to Nneka Ogwumike.

Atlanta’s Chennedy Carter led all scorers with 26. Courtney Williams added 15 and Monique Billings contributed 12 points in addition to 14 rebounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *