The WNBA is back with a six-game slate on Sunday. Highlighting the day is a bout between the Seattle Storm and Chicago Sky at 4 p.m. ET on ABC.
The Storm are coming off winning the Commissioner’s Cup and are in first place in the league, but will be without Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, who need to rest up after the Olympics. Jewell Loyd will be playing though. The Sky sort of inexplicably struggled to end the first half of the season, losing three of their last four. They’ll need to get back on track and are capable of playing much better, so we’ll see if they can defeat a depleted Seattle team.
Also at 4, the Connecticut Sun will look to bounce back from their Commissioner’s Cup loss when they face the Dallas Wings. Then, at 6 p.m., there’s what would be a big-time matchup if Elena Delle Donne was playing: the Washington Mystics vs. the Las Vegas Aces. Myisha Hines-Allen’s return for Washington should at least make it a bit more interesting. Also at 6, the Phoenix Mercury host the Atlanta Dream with hopes of improving now that their big three of Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi could be together for the rest of the season. At 7 p.m., the quietly lurking big three of the New York Liberty (Natasha Howard, Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu) will take on the red-hot Minnesota Lynx, winners of seven-straight. Finally, the Indiana Fever will test the Los Angeles Sparks in Nneka Ogwumike’s return at 9 p.m. ET.
Seattle Storm (16-5) vs. Chicago Sky (10-10)
When: Sunday, Aug. 15 at 4 p.m. ET
Where: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL
How to watch: ABC
Key to the matchup: Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird being out. This is a golden opportunity for the Sky to take one from a Storm team that will be without two of its best players. For the Storm, it would be huge if they could win without Stewart and Bird so that they are not punished for resting them. With Stewart being in contention for Defensive Player of the Year, expect Candace Parker to have an easier time scoring at all three levels without Stewart guarding her. Meanwhile, Jordin Canada is a very capable distributor backing up Bird. It will be her job to ensure that the Storm don’t miss a beat.
Storm injury report: Breanna Stewart (out; rest), Sue Bird (out; rest), Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (out for season; personal)
Sky injury report: none
Connecticut Sun (14-6) vs. Dallas Wings (9-12)
When: Sunday, Aug. 15 at 4 p.m. ET
Where: College Park Center in Arlington, TX
How to watch: ESPN 3 or BSSW+ or NESN+
Key to the matchup: Rebounding. Connecticut is the second-best rebounding team in the league and Dallas is third. The Wings outshot the Sun from the field and from beyond the arc in the first matchup between the two teams this season, but lost the rebounding battle by 10. If Dallas can fix that, it may have a good chance of winning.
Sun injury report: Alyssa Thomas (out for season; Achilles)
Wings injury report: Satou Sabally (out; Achilles)
Washington Mystics (8-10) vs. Las Vegas Aces (15-6)
When: Sunday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, NV
How to watch: MYLVTV or Monumental
Key to the matchup: Myisha Hines-Allen’s return. If she can have a big game it could give the Mystics a chance against the mighty Aces. With Elena Delle Donne hopefully returning soon, the Mystics may not have many more games without her. With Hines-Allen back from missing time, they are gradually working their way back to full strength and at least have their two Olympians plus Hines-Allen, which is pretty good. We’ll see if that’s enough talent on the floor to get the job done against the Aces.
Mystics injury report: Elena Delle Donne (out; back), Shavonte Zellous (out; ankle)
Aces injury report: Angel McCoughtry (out; knee)
"Play the best basketball when it counts the most" - @coachthibault— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) August 15, 2021
Tomorrow starts a new chapter. #TogetherDC pic.twitter.com/TIeS3rUKMr
Atlanta Dream (6-13) vs. Phoenix Mercury (9-10)
When: Sunday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ
How to watch: CBS Sports Network
Key to the matchup: Brittney Griner getting help. Griner was phenomenal in the Olympics, especially in the gold medal game where she scored 30 points. She was already having a near-MVP-caliber WNBA season, but look at some of her point-rebound numbers in Mercury losses: 27 and 11, 27 and 16, 29 and 14, 30 and 10 and 28 and seven. Skylar Diggins-Smith has been doing her part for sure, but the rest of Phoenix’s roster needs to step up to ensure the efforts of their stars are not in vain.
Dream injury report: Chennedy Carter (out; suspended), Tiffany Hayes (out; knee), Cheyenne Parker (out for season; personal)
Mercury injury report: Bria Hartley (out; knee)
Congratulations @DianaTaurasi, @brittneygriner, @SkyDigg4, and the entire #USABWNT! pic.twitter.com/t1irQuEPM7— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) August 8, 2021
New York Liberty (10-11) vs. Minnesota Lynx (12-7)
When: Sunday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN
How to watch: Facebook or YES
Key to the matchup: Natasha Howard’s return. Betnijah Laney held things down in Howard’s absence and made the All-Star Game. However, Howard was an even bigger offseason splash than Laney — she was traded for the No. 1 pick. She averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in just 22 minutes per game over the two games she played in in the first half of the season, so watch out. She’ll be an interesting matchup on Minnesota’s Damiris Dantas, who has an inch on Howard and can hit the three, but isn’t quite as quick as Howard. And obviously Howard is a great defender.
Liberty injury report: Jocelyn Willoughby (out for season; Achilles)
Lynx injury report: Rennia Davis (out for season; foot), Aerial Powers (out; thumb)
Indiana Fever (4-16) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (6-13)
When: Sunday, Aug. 15 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA
How to watch: Spectrum SportsNet or fever.wnba.com or SN
Key to the matchup: Jantel Lavender being out. This is going to be a tough one for the Fever with four players out. Jantel Lavender is only averaging 6.6 points per game, but was expected to be one of the best players on Indiana’s roster. Her absence in this game will probably have the biggest impact on the outcome. No. 4 overall pick Kysre Gondrezick will also be out, along with Bernadett Határ and Chelsey Perry. However, the Fever won three in a row before the Olympic break, including the last of that stretch without Lavender, and Gondrezick and Perry don't play a lot of minutes anyway. Still, with Nneka Ogwumike back for the Sparks, the Fever could really use Lavender at power forward.
Fever injury report: Kysre Gondrezick (out; personal), Bernadett Határ (out; ankle), Jantel Lavender (out; knee), Chelsey Perry (out; knee)
Sparks injury report: Jasmine Walker (out for season; knee), Chiney Ogwumike (out; knee)