Battle of MVPs headlines WNBA Finals between Aces, Storm

Danielle Michaud is joined by Sportsnet WNBA writer Hayley McGoldrick to answer the most pressing questions ahead of the 2020 WNBA Finals.

Only two teams remain in the WNBA with the Finals between the Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm starting Friday evening. A fitting championship matchup with the two top-ranked teams during the regular season meeting up to decide who really is the best.

The Storm and Aces saw each other twice in the regular season with Vegas taking both contests. However, in the post-season, the Storm have looked stronger, sweeping their semifinal matchup with the Minnesota Lynx while the Aces were taken to the final seconds of Game 5 in their semi with the Connecticut Sun.

This is a matchup that will showcase some of the best players in the league and will test the limits of each team.

In both previous meetings, veteran storm star Sue Bird wasn’t present in either game and superstar Breanna Stewart wasn’t able play the second game, which may be concerning for Las Vegas as that Sept. 13 regular-season finale game was just a tight 86-84 win for the Aces.

And another concern for Las Vegas will be the that it will, of course, be without Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby to fortify the Aces’ bench production and to be used as a key defensive match against the Storm’s Stewart. Hamby suffered a knee injury during the semifinal series against the Sun and is a big loss for the Aces.

Additionally, the Storm’s top bench producer, Sami Whitcomb, will miss the WNBA Finals to be with her wife for the birth of their first child.

Without Hamby and Whitcomb available to the two sides, primary scoring will be that much more important and thankfully for both teams they each boast one of the best in the business.

2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson is averaging 21.8 points per game in the playoffs so far for the Aces while Stewart, who was the MVP in 2018, has been pouring in 23 a game in the post-season. The two forwards are the leaders for their respective teams in both scoring and on the glass, and this matchup between the two MVPs will be what viewers will be looking for the most.

It’s likely that Seattle has an advantage with getting more rest days after sweeping the Lynx while Las Vegas saw itself go down 2-1 in its series and had win two do-or-die games they narrowly navigated to reach the final.

And, in general, the statistics favour Seattle in this matchup as both their starters in Stewart and Jewell Loyd are shooting lights out this playoff run, but there’s something to be said of the toughness the Aces showed fighting their way through a Game 5 last-second win, proving they’ll be anything but a tough out.

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