WNBA Race: Three Teams Battle For First

three teams battle in a wnba race
Jonquel Jones leads Connecticut in a race for top WNBA seeding. Credit: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

By: Jeffrey Newholm

Nothing’s better in baseball than a pennant chase. But with the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers so far ahead, baseball isn’t as exciting this season. Not to worry, as the top three WNBA teams are fighting for the top two seeds and the coveted double-bye. Between the Connecticut Sun, Washington Mystics, and Las Vegas Aces, the post-All Star game WNBA race more then fulfills hoop fans’ cravings in the NBA August doldrums. To better understand the race, it’s worth examining each team.

Connecticut Sun

15-6, 1st place

Connecticut is an extremely streaky team. A seven-game winning streak, a five-game skid and now a five-game victory chain demonstrate this fact. Coach Curt Miller eschewed the common basketball maxim that successful teams need many megastars. It must be noted, however, that Bahamian gem Jonquel Jones has challenged that narrative with a breakout campaign. (Additionally, note the slick Sun passing).

Also, Shekinna Stricklen boosted the team’s profile with an impressive three-point contest victory on All-Star weekend.

Fortuitously, Connecticut has avoided injuries that bedevil others, with all five starters starting every game. Hot-and-cold shooting teams are a liability in single-elimination (the format of the first two rounds), so a top-two finish is an important goal.

Washington Mystics

14-6, .5 games back

Only the health of the fluid and agile Elena Delle Donne ensures Washington’s success. Delle Donne earned the 2015 MVP with Chicago and is a strong contender for this year’s. Her remarkable ability to seemingly float to the basket is unpeered.

Coach Mike Thibault holds the WNBA record for most wins but still hasn’t won a title. A balanced supporting cast around Delle Donne rewards Thibault’s patience, and 2018 produced a first-ever trip to the finals. With Washington’s star still at the height of her abilities, the avenue of opportunity has never been clearer. But the shorter the path to a title, the better. Top seeding would aid Delle Donne’s lingering aches.

Las Vegas Aces

14-7, 1 game back

After years of ignorant mismanagement in San Antonio, the 2018 arrival of the Aces proved to be a jackpot. Three straight #1 picks filled the roster with talent. The best of those three is second-year stud A’ja Wilson, who dazzles the league with nimble post-ups and pull-ups.

A trade for spectacular center Liz Cambage established Vegas’s status as a power-dealer. She holds the WNBA record with a 53 point game and overpowers hapless opponents. (When she’s not shooting over them).

The Aces prove to be a tremendous Vegas women’s hoops success, and expectations of a championship are suddenly widespread and plausible.

Epic Battle to WNBA Race Horn

Connecticut, Washington, and Las Vegas host the league’s biggest stars and swiftest successes. But only two will earn the double-byes in the WNBA race, with the third sentenced to an all-or-nothing contest. Furthermore, the top seed will have playoff home-court, so every game matters. While the NBA is completely dormant, the Sun, Mystics, and Aces are displaying athletic performances no hoops fan ought to miss.

Jeffrey Newholm
About Jeffrey Newholm 191 Articles
Hey there! I’m Jeff Newholm and depending on your point of view I’m blessed or cursed that my two favorite sports are outside the limelight. Being a UW-Whitewater grad (winter 2013) my first love was d3 college football, but over the last few years I have picked up a huge interest in woman’s basketball (Uconn being my favorite team as their 90 game winning streak helped show me how good a team can get in the woman’s game). I like all the sports everyone else likes (NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA basketball and football) but those two sports are where I really have a passion.
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