Game of the week
The Sky and Liberty met twice this past week and they produced two thrilling finishes. In the first matchup, it was a clutch bucket by Breanna Stewart that lifted the Liberty to a one-point victory. The first meeting was good, but round two was probably better, especially if you’re a Chicago fan.
Down by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, the Sky rallied to take the 86-82 victory to stun the New York crowd. Kahleah Copper top-scored with 27 points while new addition Courtney Williams had a sensational fourth period to complete the comeback. The veteran Williams fired 12 points, including 10 in the final frame.
With the game tied at 76 in the closing minutes, Williams drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer. The Liberty tried to keep up but the Sky made enough free throws in the endgame to seal the win.
Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas is putting the league on notice by putting up huge all-around performances. Against the Lynx, she filled the stat sheet with 16 points and 16 assists and was one rebound away from a triple-double. Her 16 dimes were a franchise-high and two shy of tying the WNBA record of 18 set by Courtney Vandersloot. It’s early in the season but we might be looking at an MVP candidate.
She’s averaging 14.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.3 steals through seven games.
Team in the spotlight
The Connecticut Sun are the hottest team in the league outside of the league-leading Las Vegas Aces. The Sun are 6-1 on the young season after notching three straight wins over Indiana, Minnesota, and Dallas this past week.
Who would have thought that a team without its MVP (Jonquel Jones) and longtime coach (Curt Miller) would start this strong? But credit their veteran core of Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner, and Brionna Jones. This trio is averaging nearly 44 points per game while also doing the heavy lifting in rebounding and assists. Tiffany Hayes, one of Atlanta’s go-to players in the past decade, has fit seamlessly in Connecticut as the team’s fourth-best scorer with 12.9 points per game.
Credit also coach Stephanie White for getting her players to buy into her system and stay locked in. Defensively, the Sun remain deadly as ever, using their length and physicality to disrupt opponents. Just ask Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale and her 3-for-16 shooting performance in Connecticut’s previous game.
Watch out for…
The top two teams in the league face off twice this week. The Aces (6-0) and the Sun (6-1) will lock horns on Wednesday and Friday (MNL time) in a rematch of the last year’s WNBA Finals.
The back-to-back matchups will be a good indicator of where the two teams currently stand. The defending champions have been challenged early in the season but they have yet to face a potential playoff team like the Sun. On the other hand, the Sun are looking to be as formidable as ever despite the offseason changes. Are they for real? Going up against the Aces should be a good barometer of just how well they’re playing.