Friday, December 1 2023

After the first round of the WNBA playoffs, the highly anticipated Finals showdown between the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty is still on track.

The Dallas Wings and Connecticut Sun are looking to derail that train.

It will not be easy as the Aces are the reigning WNBA champions with a stacked roster — A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray — and the best offense in the league during the regular season. The Liberty were the hottest team at the end of the year — beating the Aces in two out of three meetings after Aug. 1 — and have their own lineup of stars: Breanna Stewart, Sabrina Ionescu, Jonquel Jones, and Betnijah Laney.

Let’s take a look at the WNBA Semifinals.

How do the WNBA Playoffs work? When do they start?

A dozen WNBA teams play a 40-game regular season, with the top eight advancing to the playoffs. The first round is a best-of-three that just concluded, setting up the best-of-five semifinals (starting Sept. 24) and then the WNBA Finals, beginning on Oct. 8.


Las Vegas Aces beat Chicago Sky 2-0
New York Liberty beat Washington Mystics 2-0
Connecticut Sun beat. Minnesota Lynx 2-1
Dallas Wings beat Atlanta Dream 2-0


Las Vegas Aces (1) vs. Dallas Wings (4)

Game 1: At Las Vegas, Sept. 24, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN 2)
Game 2: At Las Vegas, Sept. 26, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Game 3: At Dallas, Sept. 29, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN 2)
*Game 4: At Dallas, Oct. 1, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
*Game 5: At Las Vegas, Oct. 3, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN U)
*= if necessary

This is a tough matchup for Dallas, starting with A’ja Wilson, who was just named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year (and is a serious MVP candidate). However, in the regular season meetings between these teams it was Kelsey Plum who shredded the Wings, averaging 23 points a game, shooting 45.8% from 3, and dining out 5.7 assists a game. The Wings don’t have a defender who matches up well with Plum, which could be the difference in the series.

If the Wings are going to pull the upset in this series they need a strong defensive series from guards Arike Ogunbowale and Crystal Dangerfield to slow Plum and the Aces’ guards, the Wings’ offense has to be efficient to slow the Aces’ lethal fast break, they have to be strong on the offensive glass (again, to slow the break) and Ogunbowale needs to have a breakout series. Dallas is an outstanding team and it will show in this series, but this is a tough matchup for them.

New York Liberty (2) vs. Connecticut Suns (3)

Game 1: At New York, Sept. 24 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Game 2: At New York, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: At Connecticut, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN 2)
•Game 4: At Connecticut, Oct. 1, 3 p.m. ABC
•Game 5: At New York, Oct. 3, 8 p.m. (ESPN U)
*= if necessary

The player to watch this series is Alyssa Thomas — the Connecticut forward is one of the frontrunners to win MVP, but New York bottled her up in meetings this season. If the Sun are going to pull the upset in this series Thomas has to be the MVP.

On the other side of the ball, the Sun’s top-three defense has to bottle up the Liberty’s Jonquel Jones, who torched them during the regular season to the tune of 19 points a night on 61.9% shooting. The other thing in the Liberty’s favor is they are a much better — and much more willing — 3-point shooting team and if New York rains 3s in this series it will be tough on Connecticut.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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