WNBA begins their championship playoff series

Laura Haley

Chief Copy Editor

 

Friday, Oct. 2 kicked off the 2020 Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) five-game series final. Competing in the finals this year are the Las Vegas Aces — their second finals appearance after defeating the number seven seed, the Connecticut Sun, 66-63. Alongside the Aces, the Seattle Storm also claimed a spot in the finals after squeaking by the Minnesota Lynx in an 88-86 win. 

Tipping off the first game in Bradenton, Fla., Storm all-star Breanna Stewart totaled 37 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks placing her one point behind Angel McCoughtry, the Ace player who holds the WNBA Finals playoff record for most points in one quarter with 16, set just one week earlier on Sept. 27. Opening the fourth quarter with a two-point advantage over the Aces, Stewart secured a double-digit lead for the Storm, scoring the first 11 points of the quarter. The Storm’s Sue Bird totaled 14 assists, breaking the playoff record while also setting a career high. The Storm prevailed, defeating the Aces 93-80 to clinch a game one victory. 

Sunday, Oct. 4 commenced game two with the Aces, who again came up short in a 91-104 loss to the Storm. In addition to their thirteen-point win, the Storm set a WNBA championship record with 33 assists. Helping Seattle reach their game two victory were Alysha Clark and Natasha Howard with 21 points, Jordin Canada with 10, Bird with 16 and Stewart with 22 — the fifth game in a row the Storm’s power forward has scored more than 20 points in the finals. 

The Aces led 65-64 towards the end of the third quarter after bouncing back from being 13 points down in the first half. Las Vegas’s A’ja Wilson added 20 points while McCoughtry and Emma Cannon both scored 17. However, the teams’ 15 turnovers weren’t enough to sneak past the Storm. Individually, Wilson received All-WNBA recognition, the first of her career, with Stewart trailing one vote behind to be unanimously nominated. 

Facing off on Tuesday, Oct. 7, the Storm will attempt their second WNBA title in two years after their 2018 victory over the Washington Mystics. Going into game three, the Storm and the Aces are missing some of their crucial players. After suffering a knee injury versus Connecticut in the semifinals, WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, Dearica Hamby, will sit out alongside Seattle’s shooting guard Sami Whitcomb, who has decided to step away from the finals to be with her family.

 

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