That’s a wrap on the 2020 WNBA regular season for the Seattle Storm.
The No. 1 overall seed in the league was on the line Sunday as the Seattle Storm faced the Las Vegas Aces.
It was on Aug. 22 when the Aces took the first meeting between the two in the WNBA's shortened regular season. Las Vegas entered Sunday's game with a 17-4 overall record to Seattle’s 18-3 record.
The teams had already secured the double-bye in the playoffs, but it was clear that these two competitive and talented teams were playing for bragging rights. In the closely-fought battle, the Aces came out victorious, 86-84.
Neither the Storm nor Aces will now play until next Sunday.
A full week of rest is just what Seattle needs.
The Storm were without their All-Stars Sue Bird (knee) and Breanna Stewart (foot) on Sunday as the duo also missed Friday night's 83-60 win against the Phoenix Mercury due to injuries.
Bird had missed nine games already this season due to a bone bruise in her left knee that she initially suffered on July 30. This past Wednesday, Bird collided with Dallas Wings rookie and former Oregon Ducks forward Satou Sabally reinjuring the knee.
Bird has averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 assists in 11 games played this season.
For Stewart, she has been dealing with tendinitis in her left foot.
Stewart, the 2018 WNBA MVP, is also in her first year back after sitting out the 2019 season due to an Achilles injury.
Both Seattle stars have a history of injuries and thus for the Storm, the hope heading into the postseason had been to make sure the two don’t face any current setbacks.
Stewart, who has been a leading candidate for the WNBA's MVP honors this season, has led the Storm by averaging 19.7 points (4h in the league) and 8.3 rebounds (9th).
The Storm took a lead 27-20 after one quarter against the Aces.
It seemed like the injury bug was going to strike again for Seattle in its regular season finale.
At the 8:56 mark in the second quarter, Seattle’s best defender and starting small forward Alysha Clark rolled her ankle and headed straight to the locker room.
The good news for Seattle: Clark returned to game action midway through the second quarter.
After 15 minutes of action, Las Vegas took its first lead, 35-33.
The Storm were down two at halftime as the second half turned into a game of exchanging baskets.
Starting shooting guard Jewell Loyd led the Storm in scoring after starting off slowly offensively, shooting 2-for-8 in the first half.
But she brought the scoring in the second half. Loyd finished with 30 points and four assists.
The Aces, who were playing in a back-to-back after beating the Sparks 84-70 Saturday, showed signs of fatigue down the stretch Sunday, but Las Vegas dug deep to pull out the win.
Now that the Storm and Aces have a full week off, the two will take the time to get rest, get healthy, and to scout their potential matchups.
Here’s a look at how the 2020 WNBA Playoffs work:
- The top 8 teams based on win percentage qualify for postseason play regardless of conference
- First and Second Rounds are single elimination
- Teams are re-seeded after each round
- The Semi-Finals and Finals are a best of five series
The Storm will now await their opponent for the semi-finals, which will tip-off next Sunday.
We will have you covered on all things Seattle Storm as the league’s No. 2 team begins its journey for a fourth WNBA Championship.