Aces forward A’ja Wilson (left) looks to shoot past Storm center Tina Charles (31) during the first half of a game Aug. 14 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)

Aces forward A’ja Wilson (left) looks to shoot past Storm center Tina Charles (31) during the first half of a game Aug. 14 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)

Analysis: Who has edge as Storm face Aces in semifinals?

The first game of the five-game WNBA semifinal takes place Sunday in Las Vegas.

  • By Wire Service
  • Saturday, August 27, 2022 6:43pm
  • SportsStorm

By Percy Allen / The Seattle Times

We break down every matchup that will decide the best-of-five WNBA semifinals between the No. 4 seeded Seattle Storm and No. 1 seeded Las Vegas Aces.

Game 1 is Sunday and Game 2 is Wednesday at Michelob Ultra Arena. Seattle hosts Game 3 on Sept. 4 and (if needed) Game 4 on Sept. 6. And if necessary, Game 5 will be played in Las Vegas.

(Spoiler alert: We’re forecasting an epic five-game series that will be one for the history books.)

Here’s everything you need to know heading into Sunday’s 1 p.m. series opener on ESPN:

Sue Bird vs. Jackie Young

Synopsis: Bird’s brilliance isn’t always reflected in the statistics because the 41-year-old point guard who has played in a league record 636 WNBA regular-season and playoff games is able to impact the game with her command of the offense and knowledge of opposing defensive schemes. The 24-year-old Young is often overlooked on a loaded Aces team, but the first-time WNBA All-Star had a breakout year and is Las Vegas’ third-leading scorer in the playoffs at 15.5 ppg. while shooting 57.9% (11 of 19) from the field and 71.4% (5 of 7) on 3-pointers.

Edge: Las Vegas

Jewell Loyd vs. Kelsey Plum

Synopsis: The WNBA All-Stars are two of the deadliest shot makers in the WNBA. Plum, the former Washington Huskies star, tallied a career-high 113 3-pointers, which led the league. She also ranked second in scoring (20.2 ppg.). Meanwhile, Loyd’s personal-best 84 three-pointers ranked fourth in the WNBA. Seattle has a slight advantage here considering Loyd is a better defender. Plus, recency bias gives her the edge considering she tallied 38 points and eight 3-pointers — both career highs — in their last meeting.

Edge: Seattle

Gabby Williams vs. Chelsea Gray

Synopsis: No one played better than Gray in the first round of the playoffs. She’s tied for the postseason lead with 22.0 ppg. while shooting 75% (15 of 20) and averaging 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds. Williams has been largely productive in the playoffs (13.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 3.0 apg. And 1.5 spg.), but her four games against Las Vegas this year have been sporadic. Plus, Williams suffered a concussion on Sunday and missed Wednesday’s practice while in the league’s protocols.

Edge: Las Vegas

Breanna Stewart vs. A’ja Wilson

Synopsis: Either Stewart or Wilson will win their second WNBA MVP this year, but it would be nice if the league could recall ballots and recast votes after the series, which could settle the debate on who is the best player in the league. In four meetings, they each have scored 91 points. However, Wilson has more rebounds (47-40), assists (11-9) and blocks (7-3) and is shooting a higher percentage from the floor (52.9%-43.1%) and 3-pointers (50%-45.5%).

Edge: Las Vegas

Tina Charles vs. Kiah Stokes

Synopsis: A pair of former Connecticut Huskies centers and New York Liberty teammates (2015-19) highlight the battle of the bigs beneath the basket. In the past two meetings, Charles averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds against Stokes (4.5 ppg. and 6.0 rpg.) to win their individual matchup.

Edge: Seattle


Synopsis: Many WNBA observers surmised the Aces would eventually hit a wall because they lean heavily on their starters while the bench ranked last in scoring (12.9 ppg.) in the regular season. But that never happened even after Dearica Hamby’s injury elevated Stokes and thinned the reserves, which essentially comprises Riquna Williams and Iliana Rupert. Seattle has more — and seemingly better — options with Ezi Magbegor, Stephanie Talbot, Briann January and Epiphanny Prince, who averaged 18.4 ppg. during the regular season.

Edge: Seattle

Noelle Quinn vs. Becky Hammon

Synopsis: Two of the WNBA’s youngest and most promising coaches match wits for the first time in the postseason. The 37-year-old Quinn has a 2-1 playoff record while the 45-year-old Hammon is 2-0 in the postseason as a rookie coach. Considering their postseason inexperience, we give the slight nod to Quinn, who has longtime coach Pokey Chatman on her staff as well as Bird, who has helped four Storm coaches to WNBA titles.

Edge: Seattle


Synopsis: These teams’ only other meeting in the playoffs was the 2020 WNBA Finals and Seattle had little trouble sweeping Las Vegas 3-0 at the IMG Academy, in Bradenton, Fla. The Aces have incentive and momentum, including six straight wins and a 3-1 record versus Seattle this year. This series has lots of 2018 vibes for Seattle, which was pushed to the limit by the Phoenix Mercury before claiming a memorable 94-84 win in Game 5 of their semifinal series. However, this time the Storm don’t have home-court advantage and they haven’t won in Las Vegas since 2018.

Edge: Las Vegas in five

Talk to us

More in Sports

Washington's Sami Reynolds runs the bases against McNeese during an NCAA softball game on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Local softball stars Reynolds, Mahler set for WCWS

Washington’s Sami Reynolds (Snohomish) and Stanford’s River Mahler (Monroe) each play prominent roles on their Pac-12 teams.

Alberto Rodriguez.
Rodriguez puts on power display, leads AquaSox to series win

The 22-year-old outfielder mashed 11 extra-base hits, including six home runs, as Everett took five of seven from Eugene.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for May 22-28

The Athlete of the Week nominees for May 22-28 Voting closes at… Continue reading

Daniel Kim, left, and Ben Borgida, right, chat between holes during the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament at the Everett Golf and Country Club in Everett, Washington on Monday, May 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Kim soars to 4-shot win in 92nd Snohomish County Amateur

The WSU freshman and Kamiak graduate’s 12-under final total was the historic tournament’s lowest since at least 2010.

Cooper Cummings from the United States celebrates after winning a men's downhill during the Cheese Rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Monday May 29, 2023. The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event where participants race down the 200-yard (180 m) long hill chasing a wheel of double gloucester cheese. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Arlington High School grad is the big cheese after winning UK race

Cooper Cummings, who grew up in Lake Stevens, defeated a world record-holder in Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake.

Jackson High School is awarded the 2023 WIAA class 4A softball championship trophy in Richland, Wash., on Sat., May 27. (TJ Mullinax/for The Herald)
Jackson wins state title over GP after game called by weather

The Timberwolves win 5-1 to hoist their third state softball trophy since 2018 after a game that ended in unusual fashion.

Lake Stevens’ Grant Buckmiller takes a peek at the clock as he runs to the title in the 4A boys 200 meter dash during the WIAA State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State track: Lake Stevens sprinter Buckmiller blazes to multiple titles

Also, Kamiak’s Kalia Estes and Jaedyn Chase claim championships and more on local title winners and state placers.

The Yankees’ Aaron Judge jogs the bases after hitting his second home run of the game a Mariners first baseman Ty France looks on during the sixth inning of a game Monday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Judge homers twice, Yankees clobber Mariners

Rookie standout Bryce Miller struggles against the New York lineup in Seattle’s 10-4 loss.

AquaSox fall to Hops in Memorial Day game

Everett grabs an early lead, but can’t hang on in an 8-4 loss.

Most Read