What to watch in every WNBA semi-final match

The WNBA semifinals have been decided, and it’s hard to argue that anything less than the league’s true level has risen to the top.

Yes, the seventh seed New York Liberty gave Chicago Sky a game 1 scareThe sixth-seeded Dallas Wings faced the Connecticut SunV 2 . game from their series. But in the end, the four teams that prevailed in the first round of the playoffs – Sun, Sky, Las Vegas Ice and Seattle Storm – aren’t just the top four, but are clearly the best teams all season across the board.

By net rating, this was The top four WNBA teams during the regular season. None of the four were outside the first half of the league in either the offensive or defensive classification, and the group ended 1-2-3-4 in real shooting ratio as well.

So a lot of what happens from now on has nothing to do with one team outperforming another – each of the remaining four teams can reasonably claim to be the favorite to earn a trip to the WNBA Finals – and much more depends on how the individuals perform, not to mention the specifics of each match. semi-finals.

No. 2 Chicago Sky vs No. 3 Connecticut Sun

FiveThirtyEight favoriteThe sun (51 percent).

At first glance, the sky seems like the obvious favorite here. They dominated their season streak with The Sun this year, winning each of the four games.

But those four games Determined with an average of 4.5 points (The four numbers were all in one digit), and one of them went to work overtime. So assuming that having a concert in Chicago would be wrong. In fact, the sun actually WNBA led In the regular season’s net rankings (at nearly 2 points per 100 possessions above the Aces), FiveThirtyEight’s predictions actually put Connecticut as the favorite to win this series and advance to the finals.

To get there, the Sun doesn’t need to perfectly match the production of the Chicago Rangers to theirs — but they do need to make it competitive.

In the four matches between these two teams, Courtney Vanderslot Averaged 13.3 points, 7.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, shooting 48.7 percent of the field in the process. You know, a Courtney Vanderslott’s record performance. By contrast, the Sun’s more traditional point guards – specifically, Natisha Hedman and Dejonay Carrington – have struggled to score against the sky. In the first round against the wings, Sun head coach Kurt Miller turned to funky offensive distributors like DeWanna Bonner and Courtney Williams (along with the always-dangerous secondary playmaker Alyssa Thomas) to bridge the gap from Missed a lot Jasmine ThomasAnd the off season with a knee injury.

If the sun were to short, it would be for Thomas to lose, a blow that would have sent other teams out of the league’s elite. It is thanks to Miller’s coaching that the sun remains among the favorites. However, it simply needs at least some production from the PG site – and it Late Season Takeover of Odyssey Sims He indicated an understanding of this – to defeat the sky and advance to the sun Second WNBA Finals In four seasons.

As for Sky, the scheme to beat them was only reinforced in their loss in Game 1 to Liberty. As surprising as it is for a team that includes three-pointed four-pointer champion Allie Quigley (among other shooters), Sky has been inconsistent on the outside of the arc, and their failures there have waned.

In victories this season, Chicago reimburses 38 percent of the threeSixth place in the league. It’s not all they do, but it’s a distinct part of their attack when things are going well. However, there is no team worse than heaven in deep loss, At a low cost of 27 percent When they were on the wrong side of the score. And how did they pay off three in the loss to Liberty? This is correct: 28 percent. It’s not a guarantee of victory being tied from behind the arc – New York managed to do that in games 2 and 3 too – but it’s a prerequisite.

No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs No. 4 Seattle Storm

FiveThirtyEight favorite: Aces (64 percent)

In their other semi-final match, the aces face Storm they’ve defeated in three of four games during the regular season, including twice in the last four games – and FiveThirtyEight’s predictions see more of the same to come, with Las Vegas pinned as A strong favorite to advance to the WNBA Finals. (To a large extent, this is also why the Aces are now the frontrunner in predictions to win it all.)

The main reason Las Vegas excels must come from its top player, Aja Wilson, to find another level against the storm during the regular season. In their four matches, Wilson averaged 22.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game on shooting 52.9 percent, all above their excellent averages in the regular season. She even hit 50 percent of her triples (on an admittedly small sample)!

Of course, Seattle’s Breanna Stewart is capable of similarly transcendent play: he averaged 22.8 match points per match against the Aces, with 10.0 panels and 45.5 percent of three. But even if Stewart matches a Wilson bucket for a bucket, the series becomes a battle between two supporting teams — and Las Vegas simply runs deeper.

The Aces have the most efficient attack in the leagueWhile Seattle comes in sixth place. Despite this, The Storm is by far the best defensive team, and it’s no coincidence that the only time Seattle won was the only time they Download Storm Aces to less than 85 points.

It’s a hard-to-thread needle for a storm. There is no more efficient team, in synergy, in Record in transition, for example. But No team plays faster than the AcesThe two teams were Almost even at fast break points per game during the season, so uptempo one wouldn’t clearly favor Seattle as with other opponents – especially since The ace is better than anyone else In avoiding ups and downs, denying the easy transition opportunities in the other direction. (This happens when you can post Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young for long periods together.)

All this makes Aces a difficult and unique game in Seattle. Had the storm drawn the sun, the details of the match might make for a different story (although Connecticut too Season series swept against Seattle). But as it is, this is a far cry from Chicago-Connecticut being on the other side of the arc.

Check out the latest WNBA Predictions.

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