WNBA Wednesday: Playoff First Round

Brittney Griner prepares for WNBA Wednesday
Brittney Griner is game for another run at the WNBA semifinals. Credit: WNBA YouTube

It’s too bad NFL football is only on Sunday Sunday and Monday Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and sometimes Saturday. But what about Wednesday? No worries, because the ladies will come to the rescue. Two win-or-go-home first-round matchups Wednesday provide four hours of spectacular hoops athleticism. At eight eastern the struggling yet experienced Phoenix Mercury travel to battle the new-era Chicago Sky. At ten (so grab the Monster!) the retooling Minnesota Lynx fly to Everett to battle the Storm (Seattle’s arena isn’t available). The Braves and Cubs can wait for a game, so here are some facts to watch for on ESPN2.

Phoenix – Chicago

What to Watch For Phoenix (15-19)

After last season’s third-straight run to the third-round semifinals, coach Sandy Brondello argued a better record and double-bye was required. Unfortunately for Phoenix, GOAT Diana Taurasi’s back injury prevented this success. Taurasi only played in the season’s final games and seemed to warm-up rather than compete. DeWanna Bonner and Brittney Griner have performed quite well, with Griner scoring the most 2019 WNBA points. However, Griner earned another suspension after an altercation and needs to remain focused for the second season. As of today, there doesn’t seem a reason to expect Phoneix to win. However, fans argued similarly in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and the Mercury rallied thrice.

What To Watch For Chicago (20-14)

Chicago missed the playoffs consecutively after star Elena Delle Donne demanded a trade. Some fans even argued the team shouldn’t try in 2019. Yes, about that. Behind Courtney Vandersloot’s record 300 assists and record three-shooting from star Diamond Deshields, Chicago established itself as a new challenger with a more loyal core. With energetic Stefanie Dolson providing the adrenaline, the Sky are ready. Don’t be fooled by missing playoff experience: Chicago has built towards Wednesday all season and won’t blink now.

Minnesota – Seattle

What To Wach For Minnesota (18-16)

The defending champions unexpectedly regressed in 2018. Legend Maya Moore’s abrupt sabbatical indicated Minnesota would also sit out 2019. Behind post terror Sylvia Fowles and arguable ROY Napheesa Collier’s nimble cuts, the Lynx have slightly exceeded expectations. Most likely, Minnesota won’t reach the finals. Perhaps, however, a season outside the magnifying glass allows a reset season to produce a 2020 rejuvenation.

What To Watch For Seattle Storm (18-16)

No Breanna Stewart, no Sue Bird, (both injured), no chance. Partially true. Seattle may not make it to the semifinals, but it’s no cupcake. Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard have provided enough talent for the Storm to maintain respectability. Everett’s home crowd has been incredibly vocal, proving incorrect the baseless notion there’s no basketball in the Seattle area. (Shame on those propagating that lie). The 2018 champs won’t concede but may be secretly counting days to 2020 resurgence.

Novel Entertainment

The WNBA postseason offers a refreshing alternative to the NBA spring grind. The first two rounds are bite-sized one-game samplers, making for a perfect fall basketball snack. And those claiming boredom Wednesday must eat their words when reminded basketball has no offseason.

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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