February 7, 2023

In the lead-up to Sunday afternoon’s showdown between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm, all of the focus was on Sue Bird as she plays her last home game of the regular season. she was He was honored by the city of Seattle and the organizers in a touching pre-game ceremony He addressed the crowd, which ran out completely after the last bell.

But when the game really stopped, A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart stole the show in an impressive duel between the main nominees for MVP. Wilson got off to a great start and finished the game with 29 points and six rebounds as the Aces weathered the storm to win 89-81 despite 35 points and 10 rebounds from Stewart.

Here are three main points from the game:

1. Duel Wilson and Stewart

After the season ends, one of A’ja Wilson or Breanna Stewart will win the 2022 WNBA MVP and become the seventh player in league history to earn that honor multiple times. During a Sunday afternoon game between the Aces and Storm, they showed why they are the two best players in the league.

Wilson was on fire early on, and helped the Aces take the forever lead in the second quarter. She finished with 29 points and six rebounds on 13 of 24 from the field, and came out with a number of important baskets in the fourth quarter to fend off a storm. Although she has always been a solid goalscorer, this performance was another reminder of how much she has improved in her offensive game. She would hit the jumpers, put the ball up on the deck to hit the basket and show off some real craft at the post.

On the flip side, Stewart was doing everything she could to keep Storm in the game despite getting no help from anyone other than Tina Charles, who was the team’s only other double-digit scorer. Stewart went on to get 35 points and 10 rebounds on 10 of 18 from the field and 4 of 5 from 3 points from the ground. It was particularly effective along the storm stretch, scoring 14 of 18 points in the storm’s fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. This was Stewart’s second consecutive 30-point game, improving her average scoring to 21.9 points per game and concluding on her first title.

2. Honoring the bird before the final match of the regular season at home

Sue Bird is the all-time WNBA leader in games played, and very few of those 651 competitions meant Sunday game, which was her last home game of the regular season in Seattle. Because of the new match format, it’s likely that her last game in town will be the one she takes home to.

The Storm battles the Mystics for the No. 4 seed and home yard in the first round. Under the league’s new playoff system, the first-round series would be the best of the three with the top-ranked team hosting games 1 and 2. Therefore, there is a scenario where Storm takes fifth and is swept away by Mystics 2-0 without playing. Playoff at home. This is unlikely, of course, but it is possible, which made Sunday even more important.

Prior to the game, the mayor of Seattle declared Sunday “Soo Bird Day,” and she was honored by the team with a heartfelt pre-game gala. She also received a custom ring honoring her many accomplishments, which include four titles, a record 13 All-Star appearances, and an all-time WNBA record.

“Right now, I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart, how grateful I am,” Bird said while addressing the fans after the match. “Not just for today, all of you showing up and supporting us, but for 21 years…This place isn’t just where I played, it’s where I call home.”

3. Playoff effects for both teams

Both teams have already sealed a place in a playoff game, but are still fighting for better seeds.

First, the Aces. After the sky beat the sun earlier in the day, aces desperately needed a win to keep up with the race for the #1 seed and created some separation in the fight for the #2 seed. They got what they needed, staying two games behind the sky with one game remaining. Between the clubs that will determine the tiebreak. They are also now in a match on the Sun and already have that tiebreak, which means they are close to securing at least the second seed. An ace in second place remains the most likely outcome, but they are still looking for first place.

As for Storm, they got some big help from the Los Angeles Sparks, who upset the Washington Mystics on Sunday. With both Storm and Mystics losing, nothing has changed in the race for the No. 4 seed. The Storm stays half a game ahead of the standings with one game in hand, and holds the tiebreaker between the two teams. They have a tighter schedule, though, with matches against Sky, Lynx and Aces still on the agenda.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *