With the Tokyo Summer Olympic break now in the books, it’s time to get back into WNBA action. The WNBA restarted play on Thursday night with the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup between the Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm. Seattle defeated Connecticut 79-57 and their stars — including Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and Sue Bird — did not show any fatigue from participating in the Olympics.
On Sunday, the league will have a full-slate of games with all 12 teams in action starting at 4 p.m. ET on ABC and the last game tipping off at 9 p.m. ET. Below we’ll take a look at the best games, under-the-radar game, and a game that fans can pass on.
The best game of the day is the first one at 4:00 p.m. ET between the Storm and Chicago Sky. The Storm currently possess the best record in the league at 16-5 and have one of the best road records at 8-2. Meanwhile, the Sky have not lived up to expectations thus far as they sitting at .500 with a 10-10 record. Chicago is only 1.5 games out of fourth place, but they need to play much better at home (3-6).
If Chicago can defeat the defending WNBA champions on Sunday afternoon that would be a great start to making a strong second half push. A couple of keys to the game will be the Sky’s three-point defense and defensive rebounding. The Storm lead the WNBA in three-point shooting at 39.2% and defensive rebounding (31.8). Therefore, it will be imperative that Candace Parker, Stefanie Dolson, and Azura Stevens dominate the glass against the likes of Stewart, Loyd, and Mercedes Russell.
Under the radar game
The Connecticut Sun, Las Vegas Aces, and Storm have garnered a lot of attention this season and rightfully so as they’ve been the best three teams in the WNBA. But one team who should be on fans’ radar is the Minnesota Lynx.
The Lynx picked up a ton of momentum before the Summer Olympic break, winning seven consecutive games and putting them in great position to have a top seed in the playoffs. The Lynx will play the New York Liberty at 7:00 p.m. ET on Facebook and the YES Network.
The Liberty are currently sitting in sixth place in the WNBA with a 10-11 record and only three games behind the Lynx for fourth. This should be a fun game of contrasting styles as the Lynx have a tremendous frontcourt duo in Napheesa Collier and Slyvia Fowles, who are playing great basketball.
As for New York, they depend on the three-point shot a lot, shooting 35.9% from distance and have three players averaging 10 points or more led by Betnijah Laney. The first-time All-Star is putting together a breakout season, averaging a team-high 19 points per game and shooting 48.5% from the field.
The worst game on Sunday’s six-game slate is the final one at 9:00 p.m. ET between the Indiana Fever and Los Angeles Sparks. The Fever have the worst record in the league at 4-16, but they do have a three-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, the Sparks are sitting on the outside of the playoff picture at 10th place with a 6-13 record. Los Angeles has a 1-11 conference record, which is surprisingly the worst in the WNBA. The last time these two teams played each other, the Sparks blew out the Fever 98-63 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 3.
Los Angeles had five players in five double figures, including Kristi Toliver, who had a game-high 22 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Indiana had three players in double figures with Kelsey Mitchell scoring a team-high 15 points.
Full schedule (all times ET)
Seattle Storm vs. Chicago Sky — 4 p.m.; ABC
Connecticut Sun vs. Dallas Wings — 4 p.m.; ESPN3, BSSW+, NESN+
Washington Mystics vs. Las Vegas Aces — 6 p.m.; MYLVTV, Monumental
Atlanta Dream vs. Phoenix Mercury — 6 p.m.; CBS Sports Network
New York Liberty vs. Minnesota Lynx — 7 p.m.; Facebook, YES
Indiana Fever vs. Los Angeles Sparks — 9 p.m.; Spectrum Sportsnet, Fever.WNBA.com, SN