2022 WNBA semifinals preview: Las Vegas Aces vs. Seattle Storm

Published August 27, 2022, 11:00 AMYoyo Sarmenta

Get ready for a star-studded battle between the Aces and Storm in the WNBA semifinals.

The semifinals clash between the No.1 seed Las Vegas and No.4 seed Seattle Storm has all the makings of a classic WNBA playoffs matchup. Firstly, it’s a rematch of the 2020 WNBA Finals where the Storm captured their fourth title in the bubble. 

Secondly, this series is as star-studded as they come with seven No.1 draft picks taking centerstage. You have Kelsey Plum (2017), A’ja Wilson (2018), and Jackie Young (2019) for the Aces then Sue Bird (2002), Tina Charles (2010), Jewell Loyd (2015), and Breanna Stewart (2016) for the Storm.

Lastly, it’s a tussle between the two former MVPs in Stewart and Wilson, who also happen to be the frontrunners for the award this season. 

The series between the Storm and the Aces starts Monday (PH time) at 4:00 AM. 

Most compelling storyline

As mentioned, the star power in this series is through the roof but everything orbits around the two MVP candidates Stewart and Wilson. 

Stewart finished as the league-leading scorer with 21.8 points on 47.2 percent shooting on top of 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.6 steals heading into the postseason. Against the Mystics, she was in MVP form, outplaying the Mystics frontline that featured Elena Delle Donne and Shakira Austin. She put up 22.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and an eye-popping 6.0 assists in the two-game sweep. 

In the other corner, you have Wilson who put up 19.5 points in the regular season while showcasing a more reliable 3-pointer. She also tallied 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals and led the league in blocks with 1.9 per game. The Aces star has had a quiet start to the postseason (12.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 2.0 bpg) but you know she can turn it up at any time. 

When these two stars last met in early August, they went toe-to-toe with Wilson’s 29 points helping the Aces to overcome Stewart’s season-high 35 points. 

It starts and ends with these two MVPs for both teams. It will be interesting to see where the Storm and the Aces stand when the league announces the 2022 MVP. Will the hardware be in Stewart’s hands while the Storm advance to the finals or will it be in Wilson’s?

Another storyline that’s hovering above this series is Sue Bird’s final playoff run. Will we see the Aces put an end to Bird’s historic career or will her farewell tour continue with the Storm getting another crack at the title?


Beyond the stars, there are two players from each squad’s injury list to keep an eye on. 

For Las Vegas, it’s Dearica Hamby who has been sidelined with a right knee bone contusion since the Aces’ game against the Atlanta Dream on August 9. The two-time Sixth Player of the Year may not be producing the same kind of output as she did in years past but she’s still a key cog in the franchise’s title hopes. She put up 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds plus 1.1 steals as a starter this year for coach Becky Hammon. 

The initial diagnosis was that Hamby would be out for two to four weeks. Will she make it back in time for the semifinals? If not, that puts a ton of pressure on Riquna Williams, Illiana Rupert, and Kiah Stokes to man the frontcourt. Remember, the Storm have Charles and Stewart. Hamby is supposed to be a primary defender for either of the two Seattle stars. 

For the Storm, Gabby Williams suffered a concussion in the second half of Game 2 of their first-round battle with the Mystics. The versatile forward has been a revelation for the Storm this season. She does a little bit of everything, filling in holes for Seattle both offensively and defensively. With Seattle already loaded with Stewart, Loyd, and Charles, she provides the hustle plays that every contender needs. Hopefully, she’ll be ready to go by Monday. 

Winning blueprint

Both teams love to play with pace and purpose with the 3-point shot as one of their primary weapons. The Storm and the Aces finished the regular season on top of the league tied in 3-point percentage at 36.1 percent. The Storm credit 33.6 percent of their points from downtown, good for second in the league, while the Aces were fourth with 31.6 percent.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Aces are fresh off a scintillating performance in Game 2 of their first-round meeting with the Phoenix Mercury. They drilled a record 23 triples and shot 23-of-36 from deep. 

This is a good old-fashioned shootout in the making. One game can be a Plum or Gray explosion for the Aces. The next could be a stellar shooting performance from Loyd. The outside shooting for both of these teams should be telling of how this series will play out.