The WNBA playoffs kicked off on Wednesday with both the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces protecting homecourt and handily beating their opponents.
The Sun scorched the Lynx
Connecticut cruised to a 90-60 win against the Minnesota Lynx. The Sun trio of DeWanna Bonner, Alyssa Thomas and Tiffany Hayes came to play, with each scoring in double figures.
Connecticut Sun wins 90-60.— Across the Timeline (@WBBTimeline) September 14, 2023
The 30-point win is the largest win in Sun postseason history and is 8th-largest in WNBA postseason history.https://t.co/I6Ube6NHlP
Minnesota had an impressive run late in the first quarter, with Kayla McBride scoring nine-consecutive points on her way to a 16-point night. But with Napheesa Collier scoring only 14 points on 12 attempts and no one else stepping up, Connecticut pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back.
In our preview, we highlighted rebounding as a key factor. Minnesota kept it competitive on the glass, losing the battle by just four boards. However, they shot 35 percent from the field and coughed up 19 turnovers, which Connecticut turned into 30 points.
Minnesota will need to play near-perfect basketball to defeat Connecticut and salvage their season on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. That requires fewer turnovers, a big game from Collier and another offensive burst from McBride. Can Diamond Miller also give you more than five points? If not, Connecticut will return to the semifinals for the fifth-consecutive season.
The Aces rolled past the Sky
The night concluded with Las Vegas demonstrating why they are the defending champs and arguably one of the best teams of all time, destroying the Chicago Sky 87-59. The game was over quickly; Las Vegas started on a 6-0 run, never trailed and outclassed Chicago in virtually every statistical category.
Chelsea Gray was her Point Gawd self, scoring 20 points and dishing out seven assists. Jackie Young was right behind her with 18 points and six assists. A’ja Wilson was as efficient as ever, scoring 14 points on 50 percent shooting and grabbing eight rebounds. She also had four blocks.
There were not many positives for the Sky. Kahleah Copper scored 15 points, but did so on 5-for-14 shooting. It’s just one game, but there will have to be a dramatic difference if Chicago wants to avoid the sweep on Sunday when the teams play again in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.
When the Aces play like they did on Wednesday, they are nearly impossible to beat and well-deserving of the “super team” label, whether they embrace it or not. They had five players in double digits, only had eight turnovers and dominated the paint, outscoring Chicago 44-28.
Every game is different and what happened in Game 1 in both series is not promised to occur in Game 2. However, it’s the first round and the gap between the higher seeds and lower seeds is wide. So perhaps some blowout losses, which lead to blowout series, are to be expected. After the higher-seeded home teams took care of business, we now get to see what counters the lower-seeded road teams will make, and if it’ll be enough to force Game 3s.