Around the WNBA: Storm’s duo of Bird, Stewart proving to be unstoppable

Atlanta Dream forward Shekinna Stricklen (40) dribbles in front of Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) and forward Breanna Stewart (30) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

With the WNBA now 11 games into the season, teams like the Storm, Aces and Sky continue to power through their opponents, while the Mystics and Wings who started the season strong have lost their flame. The Western Conference has proved they hold a lot of the talent in the league, while Chicago remains the only team over .500 in the East.

Chasing the Storm

Seattle may be home to the oldest player in the WNBA in Sue Bird, but the duo of Bird and Breanna Stewart have proved to be unstoppable – and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. The 10-1 Storm defeated its last three opponents by at least 20 points, and in its last matchup against the Connecticut Sun, every player on the team shot over 40 per cent while the efficiency for the entire team was 57 per cent.

Bird alone is currently shooting 53.6 per cent from the three-point line in her 18th year in the WNBA. The Storm play the Liberty and the Fever in the next two games — two seemingly easy wins — before facing off against the second-best team in the league, Las Vegas, on Saturday.

Viva Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Aces, sans Kelsey Plum and Liz Cambage, are heating up the league, boasting an 8-2 record right behind Seattle in the West. The Aces are running on a seven game win streak, only posting losses in two of their first three games this season before finding their groove. Dearica Hamby, a frontrunner to be the Sixth Woman of the Year, is averaging 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds a game, while A’ja Wilson is second in the league in point-per-game average with 20.3.

The best part about the Aces? Hamby’s daughter, Amaya, who has been stealing the show from the sidelines, reporting with Sugar Rodgers post game with Holly Rowe.

The revival of the 2016 champs

Though the 2019 WNBA champion Washington Mystics have taken a bit of a nosedive this season – fairly so without so many of their All-Stars on the roster – another recent champion has resurged as a top contender. Winning their fourth in a row in a 24-point blowout against the Indiana Fever, Riquna Williams scored 21 points off the bench, while Nneka Ogwumike added 17 in the matchup.

The team still has a 7-3 record in the “wubble,” but the momentum of how both their starters and bench players are performing gives the Sparks potential to take on the best of the best.

The kids are alright

One of the most prominent young players in the league is the sixth overall draft pick in the 2019 draft, Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx. Drafted after notable names like Asia Durr and Teaira McCowan, Collier has proven this season that her draft stock was an oversight by every team who passed on her. In the Lynx’s win over New York, Collier put up 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in the 30-point dismantling of the Liberty.

Collier’s teammate Crystal Dangerfield, who wasn’t drafted until the second round of the 2020 draft going 16th overall, also contributed 22 points and 4 assists – the two of them together scored over half of Minnesota’s total points. The two Lynx youngsters are proving that their draft order won’t define their court performance and that Minnesota’s future is bright.

Connecticut’s off-court W

Though the Sun have only managed to navigate four wins this season, with three of them coming in their last four games on the backs of DeWanna Bonner and Jasmine Thomas, their biggest win may have been against the Phoenix Mercury, who lost to the Dallas Wings on Sunday. After the Mercury tried to clown the Sun after their loss to the Storm, Connecticut came back with a response that will let them continue to live rent free in the minds of Mercury fans.

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