Storm

Storm And Aces Ready for War in Wubble Rematch

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A rematch of the 2020 WNBA Finals is set. After the Seattle Storm sweep the Washington Mystics two games to zero. They will now battle in a five-game series to advance to the Finals for the fifth time in franchise history against either Chicago or Connecticut. There is a championship aspiration between both teams, and their best players are vying for the MVP award.

Return Of The 2018 and 2020 MVPs

Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson have both garnished an MVP award over the last handful of seasons. Stewart won in 2018, and Wilson won the award in 2020. These two superstars are battling once again for the highly coveted award.

For the playoffs, Stewie averages 22.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. Wilson averages 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. They are also competing against each other once again for a chance to return to the Finals. Wilson and the Aces have dominated the regular season and the first round, but Stewie hasn’t lost a playoff series with the Storm since 2017.

Both players are in contention for defensive player of the year as well. Wilson leads the league in blocks in the playoffs, averaging 2.0 per game, while Stewie averaged 0.9 per game. However, Stewart averages more steals than Wilson in the postseason. She averages 1.5 steals per game, while Wilson hasn’t recorded a steal.

Even though these postseason stats do not affect award determinations, they illustrate how close the race remains. Stewart led the league in points with 21.8 per game, and Wilson averaged a league-leading 1.9 blocks per game in the regular season. Despite Stewart and Wilson’s contributions, both teams will rely on their team around MVP contenders to win the series.

The Aces Strike Back

The Aces have the best record in the league because of the players surrounding Wilson. Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray, and Jackie Young lead a guard-centric lineup. After Dearica Hamby suffered a bone contusion at the end of the regular season, Kia Stokes joined Wilson in the frontcourt.

Even when she comes back, head coach Becky Hammon says that Stokes will start with Wilson in the front court bringing Hamby off the bench. Since Stokes entered the lineup for Hamby, the Aces are 6-0 with a 14.7 average margin of victory clearly showing improvement.

Plum and Gray lead the league in offensive efficiency as a guard tandem with a rating of 113.7. They also average 22.0 points per game each, which is tied with Stewart for the league lead during the playoffs. Las Vegas plays a unique rotation with only seven players averaging more than 12 minutes per game this postseason. This could be a downside against the Storm. However, the Aces have been the best team in the league, with every reason to believe they can win the franchise’s first championship.

During the regular season, the Aces outmatched the Storm. They won the season series 3-1 with an average of 9.3 points per victory. Las Vegas is a serious threat to win a championship, but Seattle is looking to upset the Aces in the semifinals with their championship experience.

The Storm Awakens

While the Aces are a championship contending team, Seattle has the championship DNA to win the series. They are led by Stewart, Sue Bird, and Jewell Loyd. In addition to their experiences playing on Team USA, the Storm’s big three have won two championships together.

Loyd and Plum will battle each other throughout the series, but it will take more scoring from Loyd to push her over the edge. Loyd averaged 17.5 points per game this postseason which is ninth-highest in the league.

Bird’s IQ and championship experience could make up for being less talented than Gray in this matchup. Even in her last season, her knowledge of the game hasn’t deteriorated. In the second game against Washington, she tallied a game-high 10 assists, indicating her elite level of intelligence.

An important factor for the Storm is the health of Gabby Williams. She suffered a concussion during game two of the first round and didn’t return. With a week of rest, she must get healthy to play in this series to help their defense. Seattle needs her defense to contribute against the top offense throughout the season.

Since Las Vegas lacks rotation, the Aussie bench players, Ezi Magbegor and Stephanie Talbot will be vital. Briann January and Epiphanny Prince will be key as well coming off the bench for Seattle. To pull off the upset, the Storm must do their best to defend the three-point line because the Aces will take advantage if they don’t. Since this is a five-game series, Seattle must take care of business at home in a packed arena so they can afford one loss on the road.

The Seattle Storm plays their first game in Las Vegas on August 28th at 1 PM Pacific Standard Time on ESPN.

About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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