Will the Seattle Storm be hoisting the WNBA Championship Trophy for the fourth time?
The WNBA’s regular season came to its conclusion Sunday, and the Storm find themselves right at the top of the list of championship contenders.
The Storm finished the abbreviated 2020 season, played entirely within its bubble in Bradenton. Florida, with an 18-4 record, which tied with the Las Vegas Aces for the best in the league. Seattle, which won titles in 2004, 2010 and 2018, earned the No. 2 seed to the playoffs and received a double-bye into the semifinals.
And Seattle has to be considered the odds-on favorite to win the championship again this year.
This is essentially the same squad that won the 2018 title. With 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart (Achilles) and legendary point guard Sue Bird (knee) back after sitting out all of 2019 because of injuries, the Storm have been nearly unbeatable. Stewart is back to her MVP form, as the 6-foot-4 forward finished fourth in the league in scoring with 19.7 points per game, adding 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.7 steals while shooting an efficient 45.1% from the floor, 36.8% from 3-point range and 89.4% from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, the rest of the starting five — guards Bird (9.8 points, 5.2 assists) and Jewell Loyd (15.5 points), forwards Alysha Clark (10.0 points) and Natasha Howard (9.5 points, 7.1 rebounds) — have slotted seamless back into their roles, while guards Jordin Canada (7.9 points, 5.5 assists) and Sami Whitcomb (8.1 points) have provided quality play off the bench.
The biggest obstacle in the Storm’s path is the Aces, who finished with the same 18-4 record and earned the No. 1 seed by winning both meetings between the two teams this season, including a nail-biting 86-84 victory in Sunday’s regular season finale. However, Sunday’s result in particular needs to have an asterisks next to it as neither Stewart nor Bird played in the game.
There are minor injury concerns surrounding Stewart and Bird heading into the playoffs. Stewart sat out Seattle’s final two games because of tendinitis in her left foot, while Bird also missed those two games — and 11 total — because of a bone bruise in her left knee. The Storm aren’t the same team without those two, as last season showed.
That said, Seattle had already clinched a double-bye, so Stewart and Bird weren’t really needed and were likely held out for precautionary reasons. Because of the double-bye they have a week to rest up before the best-of-five semifinals begin next Sunday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent, so the hope is they’re back up to full speed by then.
Even though Las Vegas enters the playoffs as the top seed, the oddsmakers have Seattle as a significant favorite at +135, while the Aces are second at +200 and the Los Angeles Sparks third at +475.
So what do you think? Will the Storm win another WNBA championship? Vote here: