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Preview: Dream-Mystics, Storm-Mercury semifinals series begin Sunday

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With a relative lack of playoff experience across the four remaining teams, including the top-seeded Storm, these best-of-five series will say a lot about whether these teams have what it takes to win it all.

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Tiffany Hayes and the Atlanta Dream host the Washington Mystics in Game 1 of their semifinals series on Sunday.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

After an exciting first and second round last week, the WNBA semifinals start today with the first games in two best-of-five series. Here are the matches and what’s in store.


No. 3 Washington Mystics (22-12) at No. 2 Atlanta Dream (23-11)

Dream won the regular season series, 2-1.

When: Sunday, August 26 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: McCamish Pavilion | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN2

Injuries: For the Dream, Angel McCoughtry (knee) is out.

Storylines to follow

The Mystics come into today’s semifinals game off a blowout win over the Los Angeles Sparks last Thursday. As great as that win was, the Mystics now have to win a best-of-five series against a team who had the upper hand against them in the regular season.

If there’s anything that could work in Washington’s favor, the Dream are without Angel McCoughtry, who led Atlanta to two WNBA Finals appearances in the past. However, Tiffany Hayes has come into her own and the Dream haven’t slowed down much, if at all, since McCoughtry’s injury. It’s honestly a coin flip regarding which team will come out on top in this series, but Washington has been the hottest WNBA team since the All-Star Break, winning nine of their last ten games including their second-round playoff win.


No. 5 Phoenix Mercury (20-14) at No. 1 Seattle Storm (26-8)

Storm won the regular season series, 2-1.

When: Sunday, August 26 at 5 p.m. ET

Where: KeyArena | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN2

Injuries: For the Mercury, Sancho Lyttle (knee) is out.

Storylines to follow

The Mercury have gone 6-0 in first- and second-round playoff games over the last three seasons. For that reason, they will not be intimidated when they head to Seattle to play the top-seeded Storm.

Unlike the past several seasons when the Lynx and Sparks dominated the standings and were deep with playoff experience, this Storm team isn’t playoff-tested. Sure, Sue Bird is still the franchise player and won two championships in 2004 and 2010, but those were with different coaches and players from a long time ago. Natasha Howard won a title with the Lynx, but she was a reserve on that team and is a key starter now. But most of Seattle’s core players like Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd are playing in their first semifinals ever. Even veteran post Crystal Langhorne is in her first semifinals, though she is now a reserve.

Phoenix, on the other hand, still has multiple core players from their 2014 championship team in Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner. The Storm has a bright future and will win multiple championships with Stewart, Loyd and Howard as their young core and with Bird as their veteran yet super-skilled sage. But the Mercury are more playoff-tested and have more than enough to upset Seattle and make the Finals once again.