After two games in the WNBA semifinals, both series are tied at 1-1 and will go at least four games in the best of five series. Both the Sky and Aces punched back after getting punched in the mouth on their home courts in game one. We learned that these teams can make adjustments. What else did we learn?
A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart are playing at a different level
Of course, we all expected Stewart and Wilson to be the stars of the Aces-Storm series. They’ve been the two best players in the league all season long. But this? Stewart has 56 points and six blocks in the first two games. Wilson has 41 points and 25 rebounds. Their battles in the paint has fans wishing this series can go on forever.
Emma Meesseman can do the dirty work
In game one, Meesseman, a two-time All Star, struggled in the paint against the Sun’s Jonquel Jones. She had just three rebounds, and just couldn’t find her footing. In game two, she was a different player. It didn’t show up in the stats – though she did grab 7 rebounds, 14 points and two steals – but Meesseman would not give up her position to Jones under the basket on Wednesday night. Does she like that kind of play?
“It depends on how many bruises I have tomorrow!” Meesseman responded. “I mean, it's part of basketball. We know Connecticut is a pretty physical team, so we're up for it. If we don't do it, that's when we lose the game.”
Chelsea Gray’s leadership is key for the Aces
Maybe this is something we already knew, but Gray’s leadership and play is driving the Aces. The 5-foot-11 point guard forced four jump balls with much bigger guards. She has 40 points and 12 assists so far in the semifinals, but it’s more than her ability to score and dish the ball. Before playing for Vegas, Gray won a championship with the Los Angeles Sparks. She knows what it takes to get her team a ring, and she’s showing it on the court.
The smack talk is next level
WNBA players are a tight-knit group. Whether they’ve played together on overseas teams, or on national teams, or in college, players who don’t wear the same uniform still know each other quite well. Not only that, but these teams have already played each other four times in the regular season. The Sky knocked the Sun out of the playoffs in 2021, while the Sun knocked the Sky out of the playoffs in 2020. The Storm swept the Aces in the WNBA Finals in 2020. Familiarity is breeding a whole lot of contempt. Kelsey Plum and Sue Bird have not stopped jawing in the Aces-Storm series, while. Kahleah Copper got into it with Courtney Williams in game one of the Sky-Sun series, and then with Natisha Hiedeman in game two. With at least two more games happening, we should see a few more dust-ups.
Age ain’t nuthin’ but a number
Sky coach James Wade quoted the Aaliyah song when discussing Candace Parker and Serena Williams, but he may as well have been referring to Sue Bird, as well. Parker is 36, and Bird is 41 and playing in the final playoffs of her WNBA career. Parker scored 41 and made nine blocks in the first two games. Bird has 18 assists across the two games.