Aces

2022 WNBA Playoffs Power Rankings: Breanna Stewart Dazzles

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The first round of the 2022 WNBA playoffs saw the top four seeds advance. Seattle and Las Vegas provided dominant play and swept their series, while Chicago and Connecticut needed three games to reach the semifinals. Athletes are optimizing their talents in championship fashion this time of year. As the action continues, scout out four players channeling inner MVP mode as they guide their teams into second-round action.

BREANNA STEWART

Seattle played a remarkable series against Washington, and Breanna Stewart displayed brilliance in more aspects than the points column. The scary part of her 22.0 average points a game was a lack of scoring in the first half of both games. Instead, Stewie broadcasted her versatility in rebounds (11.0 RPG), assists (6.0), and steals (1.5 SPG). Her shooting average was 43.8%, with a blistering 66.7% from beyond the arc.

Stewie leads the playoff power rankings this week because of her superior play against an adamant Mystics team. If fans expected just one series to go three games, it was this one. Stewie made key plays in critical moments to lead her team to a sweep. Indeed, a majestic showing of top notch prowess.

If Stewie scores early and often while playing tough defense and passing to open teammates, the Storm will be a force against the Aces. Seattle needs a total team effort, especially scoring and rebounding advantages from Stewie. She is crucial to the Storm advancing to the Finals.

CHELSEA GRAY

Chelsea “Point Gawd” Gray may need to add a three at the beginning of her nickname, as her downtown prowess places her second in this week’s rankings. Gray shot 76.9% from three-point range and 75.0% from the field in two games against Phoenix. Point Gawd averaged 22.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.0 steals in this series. Granted, it was against a depleted Mercury team, but she is ready to lead her team to the championship round.

The Point Gawd must continue her MVP-esque style of play for the Aces to prevail against a super-hot Storm. Her fiery shooting percentage and magnificent passing to open teammates are required for advancement past the semifinals. Add rebounding and passing lanes’ disruptions, and Gray and the Aces may reach the Finals.

CANDACE PARKER

This “old” WNBA legend, Candace Parker, ranks third in the power rankings. Her youthful play is the glue that binds Chicago together. In three games against New York, “Ace” averaged 14.2 points and 11.7 rebounds and added three more double-doubles to her resume. She also averaged 5.7 assists and 1.7 blocks a game. Ace is a coach on the court, gets her team involved on offense, and is active defensively.

Will Chicago repeat as WNBA champions? If Ace has any say, the Sky will hang another banner in the rafters this season. First, she has to play solid defense, crash the offensive and defensive boards, and continue getting her teammates’ open looks. Second, she must keep the Sky calm, even when the Sun makes runs. Finally, Ace must relish home-court advantage and use it to secure the Sky’s second consecutive Finals.

Jonquel Jones

Last season’s regular season MVP, Jonquel Jones, is fourth in the power rankings. She contributed MVP-like numbers in the series against Dallas while averaging 23.7 minutes a game. If Connecticut wants to reach the finals, it is probably best that JJ’s minutes increase. Lack of quality minutes aside, JJ averaged 16.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks a game while shooting 50.0% against the Wings.

What is JJ’s part in the Sun reaching the Finals? Besides increased minutes, JJ must continue her efficiency when on the court. Additionally, aggressiveness on offense and defensive tenacity are beneficial as Connecticut plays towards stealing the series from Chicago. No championship is out of reach when JJ reaches her maximum proficiency on the hardwood.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

LAS VEGAS

Kelsey Plum, the scoring bandit, continues her phenomenal play for the Aces. Averaging 22.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, Plum is vital in Vegas’s path to a championship. Elevating on the defensive end and limiting turnovers are positive factors in moving past Seattle in the semifinals.

CHICAGO

Kahleah Copper, the slasher, dasher, and opponent masher, can change the momentum of a game in a heartbeat. Pass her the ball and watch “KFC” perform her magic. She averaged 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals a game. Expect her to levitate to a higher plane in the Connecticut series as she helps the Sky reach the finals.

CONNECTICUT

If Alyssa Thomas is the engine, Brionna Jones is the four-wheel transmission. Her stats are irrelevant regarding her value. She performs all other duties as assigned, compelling Connecticut to victories regularly. Breezy must make the most of her minutes and disrupt the Sky’s offense while playing dominant defense as the Sun zero in on a finals appearance.

SEATTLE

Jewell Loyd, always in the right place at the right time, excels in high-stakes games. If she plays consistently, drains open shots, and closes out games with her Gold Mamba mentality, Seattle is in a prime position to upset Las Vegas. She is a significant factor in the Storm’s quest for a fifth championship.

PLAYOFF SHOTS

Turn on, tune in, and witness elite basketball at its best as the semifinals get underway. It is the season’s most exciting portion, and quality athleticism leaps during every play. Cheer for your team, root for your favorite players and keep your heart rate in check. Buckle up; screaming is encouraged on basketball’s best playoff ride.

All stats courtesy of Her Hoops Stats

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