The 2022 WNBA playoffs have been full of record-breaking games so far. It’s only round one but fans are in for a show. So far, in the first round the No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces defeated the No. 8 seed Phoenix Mercury, who is currently missing three of their top players. Diana Turasi is out with a quadriceps strain, Skylar Diggins-Smith is out for personal reasons and Brittney Griner is detained in Russia on drug charges.
Las Vegas Aces vs Phoenix Mercury
Winning two games back-to-back, the Aces demonstrate why they are the No. 1 seed. Their new head coach Becky Hammon, 6x time WNBA All-Star, is in her first year and is already making history. She has coached the Aces to the No. 1 spot in the league and a trip to the semifinals. This trip was indeed earned, in game 1 the Aces defeated the Mercury by 16 points. The player of the game is no other than Kelsey Plum who has been having an amazing year. Plum scored 22 points, making 6 out of 13 field goal attempts. She also secured 5 rebounds and provided 4 assists.
The outcome of game 2 was even more impressive for the Aces. The Aces put up 117 points to the Mercury’s 80. Moreover, 117 points sets the season-high in points scored for the Aces. This is also the first time in Las Vegas’ playoff game history that the team reached and exceeded 100 points. But Hammon and the Aces didn’t stop there with records. To begin the game, the Aces scored 10 consecutive field goals marking a WNBA playoff record. Their 23 3-pointers made in game 2 is the most by a team in playoff history as well. Chelsea Gray contributed majorly with 7 of the 23 made 3-pointers a career high for her. As the great playmaker, she is she finished with 27 points and 8 assist. The Aces move on to the round 2, the semifinals to play the legend Sue Bird and her team the Seattle storm.
Seattle Storm vs Washington Mystics
The No. 4 seed the Seattle storm swept the No 5. seed, the Washington Mystics, winning the series 2-0. Game 1 ended with Jewell Lloyd scoring a tough pull up jumper followed by a great defensive possession forcing a turnover and two clutch free throws. Lloyd had an amazing fourth quarter scoring 12 of her 16 points. The Storm defeated the Mystics 86-83. The player of the game, AP WNBA Player of the Year for the second year in a row, Breanna Stewart recorded a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
During game 2, Stewart achieved yet another double-double, coming close to a triple-double, as she contributed 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists, leading her team to the semi-finals. The Storm defeated the Mystics 97-84. Bird poured in 18 points and 10 assists becoming the oldest player to record a 2022 WNBA playoff double-double at 41 and Lloyd poured in 19 points. The Storm continues to chip chase, preparing to face off against the No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces in Bird’s final year. The first game of round 2 will premiere August 28, on ESPN at 4 p.m.
Chicago Sky vs. New York Liberty
On the opposite side of the bracket we have the No. 2 seed and defending champions the Chicago Sky vs the No. 7 seed New York Liberty. The series is currently 1-1. In the first game the Liberty shocked the world winning 98-91, scoring the final 13 points in the fourth quarter. The Liberty were led by their two All-stars Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard. Ionescu had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists and Howard also had 22 points and 7 rebounds. Ionescu’s performance makes her the fourth player under 25 to record 20+ points, 5+ rebounds and 5 + assists in a playoff game. The only other four players to do so are Maya Moore, Swin Cash and Cappie Pondexter.
However, game 2 the tables turned. The Sky showed the Liberty why they were the champions of the 2021 playoffs beating the Liberty 100-62. The 38-point win marks the largest win margin in WNBA playoff history. The Sky not only set the record but broke their own record as the beat the Phoenix Mercury by 36 last year. Kahleah Copper scored 20 points and Courtney Vandersloot added 16. The Sky took the first lost personal and picked up their defense in game 2 holding all Liberty players under 10 points. The Sky forced a game 3 which will take place at the Liberty’s home, the Barclays Center, on Tuesday, August 23 at 9:00 pm. The winner of this series will move on to the semi finals to play the winner of the No. 3 seed and No. 6 seed.
Connecticut Sun vs Dallas Wings
The No 3. seed the Connecticut Sun and the No. 6 seed the Dallas Wings have both won one game in the first round. The 1-1 series began with the the Sun defeating the Wings 93-68 in Game 1. Jonquel Jones scored 19 points with 8 rebounds and Alyssa Thomas recorded her first double-double of the WNBA playoffs with 15 points and 10 rebounds, let’s not forget the seven assists.
Game 2 had a different outcome as the Wings avoided elimination and forced a game 3 winning 89-79. Kayla Thornton led the Wings with an impressive 20-point performance, while Teaira McCowan recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The final game will take place Wednesday, August 24 in Dallas at 9 p.m. The winner of game 3 will face the winner of the No. 2 seed the Chicago sky and the No. 7 seed the New York Liberty. All games will premiere on ESPN.