It’s a two-team race to the WNBA title between Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces.
The Western Conference is dominating play inside the Bradenton, Florida Wubble, as the top five records in the WNBA are held by WCF clubs.
The Seattle Storm (10-1) is rolling over clubs with Breanna Stewart back and healthy after missing last season with a torn Achilles’ tendon and 39-year-old, 4-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird, in her 18th season, stroking the three-ball at a 53.6 percent clip, which is about 100 points higher than her previous career-high.
On Sunday, Stewart gave the Connecticut Sun the business with 19 points en route to a 95-72 thrashing. Bird added 13 in her return from a bone bruise. Seattle has won eight in a row and is off to the best start in franchise history.
The 2018 WNBA MVP has picked up where she left off and entering Sunday was averaging 18.9 points per game, good for fourth overall in the WNBA. The superstar was also fourth in blocks, seventh in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and 11th in 3-point shooting (44.7 %) entering Sunday’s game.
In addition to those two Hall of Famers, Seattle is gushing with talent and depth. Second-year baller Jordin Canada is third in the league in assists (5.4 apg). Jewell Loyd can light it up and is the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.9 ppg. As far as ballhawking goes, Seattle also has reigning WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard.
Las Vegas Aces
They are my midseason pick to win it all. The Aces might be the only opponent that can match Seattle’s roster power.
Imagine if this Las Vegas Aces (8-2) had Liz Cambridge (opt-out) and Kelsey Plum (torn Achilles tendon) in addition to its band of talented ballers. Seattle probably wouldn’t have a chance, but even without those two rim rippers, Bill Laimbeer ‘s squad is loaded and chip-hunting.
Chelsea Gray is fourth in the WNBA in assists (5.1 apg). MVP candidate A’ja Wilson is second in the league in scoring (20.3 ppg) and continues to carve out a HOF career.
Veteran Angel McCoughtry (15.4 ppg) continues to bring the beast on the court as she has throughout her entire career.
Dearica Hamby (11.9 ppg ), Jackie Young (10.6 ppg) and Kayla McBride (10.2 ppg) all average double figures as well. Vegas leads the WNBA in points per game, rebounds per game and field goal percentage.
The LA Sparks (7-3) have been on a roll lately, winning four in a row with former MVP’s Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, so they shouldn’t be counted out.
Especially with this 8-year veteran lighting it up.
Bay been tearing up the competition 🔥
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) August 16, 2020
My sleeper pick is Phoenix. If Diana Taurasi can remain healthy and Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Bria Hartley just do their part, the Mercury can beat almost anybody. They have two first-ballot Hall of Famers and four of the league’s top scorers on one squad. There might be some chemistry issues there, but they have the experience and talent to work it out by playoffs.
Watched the final five or so minutes of this game… Still trying to figure out how Phoenix Mercury is not undefeated with a roster that includes Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins. https://t.co/5iH7pFUzLY
— J.C. Carnahan (@JCCarnz) August 16, 2020
Don’t sleep on (7-3) Minnesota either. That franchise has a championship pedigree and can play big inside with Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier who both average at least 14.5 points and 9 rebounds per game.
The Chicago Sky (7-4) leads the Eastern Conference and has five players averaging double figures, which means they can hurt you in various ways. But I don’t see them beating any of the Top 5 teams in the West.
You can basically write in stone: The WNBA finalists will both be from the Western Conference. There will, however, be some dramatic rises and falls in the season’s second half.
WUBBLE MVP : Stewie vs. Arike
Stewie is going to be the sentimental favorite, coming back from knee surgery and she will probably be leading Seattle to the Finals.
My pick right now is Arike Ogunbowale, the former bucket-obliterator from Notre Dame. At 5-foot-8 she’s one of the most lethal pure scorers in WNBA history already. Once she finds her consistent flow and gets more help, she will be something. She’s currently leading the WNBA in scoring (21.3 ppg) and carrying the load for a Dallas Wings squad that is one of the worst in the 12-team league right now.
BIGGEST WUBBLE DOWNER
The fact that Sabrina Ionescu injured her ankle just three games into what was sure to be a captivating and dynamic rookie season has been a tremendous blow to the success and marketing hopes of the New York Liberty, who are struggling without Ionescu (18.3 ppg, 4.7 rebounds, 4 assists) and some other key players.
The WNBA and TV ratings will probably take a hit as well in markets where the Liberty are playing. Ionescu was already becoming the center of ESPN specials and the focus point of announcers. She was a Top 3 name in the game already. It was almost a tease…no torture having to see a glimpse of her and now we probably won’t see her at all anymore this rookie season.