We are just over halfway through the 2020 WNBA regular season.
The Seattle Storm currently sit in the driver's seat and atop the standings with an 11-2 record down in the ‘Wubble’ at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
However, lurking closely behind are four other teams all within, at most, two games of the Storm.
Here’s a look at the standings as of Friday, August 21:
- Seattle Storm (11-2)
- Las Vegas Aces (9-3)
- Los Angeles Sparks (8-3)
- Minnesota Lynx (8-3)
- Chicago Sky (9-4)
- Phoenix Mercury (6-6)
- Indiana Fever (5-7)
- Connecticut Sun (5-8)
- Washington Mystics (4-7)
- Dallas Wings (4-8)
- Atlanta Dream (2-10)
- New York Liberty (1-11)
[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Tristan Thompson].
HOW THE STORM GOT TO THE TOP:
The old saying "defense wins championships" is exactly why the Storm are in the driver's seat. As a team, Seattle leads the WNBA in points per game allowed (73.8). The Storm’s nine-game win streak was snapped in their last game against the Indiana Fever on Thursday night, but during that nine-game streak, Seattle’s defense only allowed one team over 75 points (they gave up 92 to the Atlanta Dream and still won).
The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard, Jewell Lloyd and Jordin Canada each are in the top-10 in steals per game (1.7) and Breanna Stewart averages 1.5 blocks per game.
Seattle is also second in the league in scoring (87.6 points per game). The Storm have four players currently averaging double figures per game: Stewart 18.5 points; Lloyd 15.3 points; Sue Bird 10.1 points; and Sami Whitcomb 10.1 points. Not to forget their efficiency behind the three-point arc, Seattle has five players averaging over 40% who have taken at least 30 attempts from downtown. Leading those sharpshooters is, of course, 16-year veteran, 3x WNBA Champion and 11x WNBA All-Star Sue Bird (54.8% from 3-PT range).
Bird, 39, missed five games earlier this season because of a bone bruise in her left knee. She had to sit out of Thursday night’s contest against the Fever and Seattle’s nine-game winning streak came to an end.
With just nine games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Storm will face just three teams currently under .500. A tough road lies ahead for one of the 2020 season favorites, but will Seattle continue to remain in the driver's seat?