WNBA Weekly Wrap: Aces clinch top seed, MVP race heats up

Published September 11, 2023, 3:00 PMYoyo Sarmenta

The Las Vegas Aces secure the No. 1 spot, while A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, and Alyssa Thomas all make compelling cases for MVP as the season wraps up.

Game of the week

The 2023 WNBA Playoffs are set after a thrilling final week of the regular season. 

The Chicago Sky clinched the last seed of the postseason after defeating the Minnesota Lynx over the weekend. With the win, the Sky eliminated the Los Angeles Sparks from contention. Kahleah Copper fired 20 points followed by 19 from Marina Mabrey in the 92-87 victory. Courtney Williams also had a big outing in the must-win game by tallying 13 points and 11 assists. 

Meanwhile, the race for the top seed was decided on the last regular season day as the Las Vegas Aces won over the Phoenix Mercury. The New York Liberty settled for the second seed after being on the receiving end of a Brittney Sykes buzzer-beater. Natasha Cloud lobbed a pass to Sykes who sank the shot as time expired, giving the Washington Mystics a 90-88 win. The two squads will square up again in the first round of the playoffs. 

Big-time ballers

With the playoff matchups locked, the next question everyone’s asking is who’s going to win the MVP award? The race has been one for the books with all three candidates putting up historic numbers. 

Do you go with Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson? She’s made a strong case for a consecutive MVP award, doing it all for the best-ranked team. She also had a 53-point explosion that tied the league’s single-game scoring record. 

Do you go with Breanna Stewart? The Liberty are a superteam and Stewie is the most super of them all. She’s had four 40-point games this season. The only person who achieved such a feat was Diana Taurasi. 

Do you go with Alyssa Thomas? The Connecticut Sun forward has a WNBA record six triple-doubles this season. To put it in context, her six are more than any player has for their career. Among the highlights of her impressive run was achieving the league’s first-ever 20-10-10 stat line (she did it with a minute left in the third quarter), and most recently, she had 27 points, 14 assists, 12 rebounds, and six steals – no other player had this kind of numbers in a game. 

Team in the spotlight

After the Aces lost against the Liberty last August in the final regular season meeting between the two superteams, there were concerns about the chinks in the armor of the defending champions. It was also their first back-to-back loss after falling short against the Mystics in the game prior. 

Since then, however, they racked up four straight wins to close out the regular season. In each of those four victories, reigning MVP Wilson scored at least 26 points, including 36 versus Phoenix. The winning streak couldn’t have come at a better time for the team looking for a consecutive title. And with the playoffs just around the corner, the spotlight will be brighter as the real test for them begins. 

Watch out for… 

The WNBA playoffs start on Thursday (Manila time) with the No.6 Minnesota Lynx taking on No.3 Connecticut Sun and No.8 Chicago Sky visiting the No.1 Las Vegas Aces. After a one-day break, the two other matchups will take place on Saturday. It’ll be the No.7 Washington Mystics versus the No.2 New York Liberty and No.4 Dallas Wings facing off against the No.5 Atlanta Dream.