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Preview: Bottom-ranked teams take on the league’s best in Tuesday’s late games

The Las Vegas Aces (#11) face the Seattle Storm (#3) under the Space Needle and the Indiana Fever (#12) take on the LA Sparks (#1) in the City of Angels. Action begins at 10 p.m. EST on Twitter and 10:30 p.m. EST on WNBA League Pass.

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Seattle Storm v Las Vegas Aces
Seattle’s Breanna Stewart (R) — the newly-named Player of the Week for the West — gets defensive against Nia Coffey (L) of the Aces on May 27, 2018 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The WNBA’s 11th- and 12th-ranked teams will have their work cut out for them to contain two of the league’s very best. Although the goals for the Aces (#11) and Fever (#12) will be progress, there are a few factors that could make each matchup interesting. Here’s how to watch and what’s in store:

Aces (3-9) vs. Storm (8-3)

When: Tuesday June 19 at 10:00 p.m. EST

Where: KeyArena, Seattle, WA | TICKETS

How to watch: Twitter (nationally) | JOE TV (Seattle market)

Injury report: Unknown. Game notes were not provided by time of publication.

Storylines to follow

Can the Storm wrap up the season series 3-3 against the Aces? With the Storm’s Breanna Stewart being named Player of the Week this afternoon for the West, confidence is likely high for her and the team. Add in that she has had a lot of scoring help from her friends recently (namely Natasha Howard and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis) — and that Jewell Loyd is a bit overdue for a monster scoring outing — Seattle is likely to grab win No. 9 of the season. However, victory will depend upon Seattle’s ability to once again reach 100 points in scoring.

Do the Aces even have a chance against this team? In the last week alone, Las Vegas has demonstrated an ability to win on the road and A’ja Wilson has showed she can dominate down the stretch when the team needs her most, putting up a historic rookie performance with 35 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. But the Storm came up with wins in the teams’ two previous meetings by pushing the score to triple digits: 105-98 on May 27 and 101-74 on May 31. So, the Aces’ chance at a win hinges on their ability to keep the Storm below 99, and for Kayla McBride to join Wilson in big scoring. It won’t be easy! But this team is intimidated by no one and the players are eager to continue making a statement on the league.


Fever (1-10) vs. Sparks (8-2)

When: Tuesday June 19 at 10:30 p.m. EST

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles | TICKETS

How to watch: WNBA League Pass (worldwide) | SPECSN (Los Angeles market)

Injury report: For LA, Sydney Wiese (left knee sprain) is out. For Indiana, Stephanie Mavunga (left ankle) is out but and Shenise Johnson (left knee ACL rehabilitation) remains out and will not play.

Storylines to follow

Can the Sparks stretch their win streak to five games? In a word, yes — The 2016 WNBA champs and 2017 semifinalists can and should win this game. But it won’t necessarily be easy against a team that just got its first win of the season a few days ago and is looking to capitalize on that momentum. But with Candace Parker able to turn on her scoring at any time, or create shot opportunities for others, it is hard to imagine this Sparks team falling to the 12th in the league. Add in the crushing defense provided by Tricky Trio Nneka Ogwumike, Odyssey Sims and Chelsea Gray — plus Alana Beard — and it is hard to fathom a circumstance in which Indiana will walk away with anything other than a frustrating loss.

Can the Fever make it two in a row? Sure, they can — because anything is possible in life. Plus, this team has some strong scoring weapons in Kelsey Mitchell, Victoria Vivians, Natalie Achonwa and Erica Wheeler. And, they should feel inspired by how their stat leaders stack up against LA’s:

Points — Mitchell (17.5) / Ogwumike (17.0)

Rebounds — Achonwa (7.6) / Ogwumike (7.6)

Assists — Wheeler (5.0) / Gray (5.8)

On paper, things look about even, and neither team is known for coming up short on effort, drive, will or grit. So if this matchup ends up being close, it will be decided on experience, which would give LA the win.


Enjoy the games!