This past week, four games were played in the two elimination rounds in the WNBA playoffs. The Phoenix Mercury had a solid win over the Dallas Wings and the Los Angeles Sparks upset the defending Champion Minnesota Lynx in the first round.
The second round was not as kind to the Sparks, as the Washington Mystics ran them out of the gym 96-64. As for the Mercury, they went up to Connecticut and beat the young Sun team 96-86 in a game that had multiple heated exchanges between Diana Taurasi and Jasmine Thomas. Taurasi would have the last laugh as she would improve her of winner-take-all record to 13-0 and set a series date with the best team in the WNBA, the Seattle Storm.
The Storm have the best player and coach (awarded by ESPN and Associated Press) as well as the Number One seed. With a 26-8 record, the Mercury will be the Storm’s first opponent in the postseason. The Storm and Mercury know each other well, as they played each other five times this season. The Storm took four games, but four of those (a stretch where they went 3-1) were early on in the season. Seattle though has had rest whereas Phoenix has not. While Breanna Stewart has been the MVP, veteran Guard Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd, Natasha Howard and Jordin Canada have done a fantastic job playing together as a starting unit.
The Mercury have two of the best players in Taurasi and Brittney Griner, the towering center who intimidates her opponents. DeWanna Bonner and Yvonne Turner are compliments to both as they’ve been holding it down defensively (Turner and Bonner) and offensively (Bonner).
My pick is the Storm in 4. The Mercury have enough to take one game and that’s about it. The Storm have been the best team for a reason: they have the depth to give their best lineup rest, and it’ll pay off in this round, especially with a week off.
The Mystics will face the Atlanta Dream, the 2nd best team altogether. The Mystics were on a roll before the regular season ended and they showed no signs of letting down especially with Elena Della Donne at full health. The Dream aren’t so lucky as their best player in Angel McCoughtry tore her ACL and is done for the rest of the season. The Dream will have home court (as they won their division) and they still have a lot of talented players who made sure they held their number one spot. Jessica Breland is their best rebounder and defensive player while Renee Montgomery has taken over for the offense.
Prediction: However good the Dream were in the regular season, I don’t see them being as good against the Mystics in a series, especially with McCoughtry out for the season. The Mystics are hot right now and aren’t known to let their foot off the gas. This series will probably wind up going three games.