The WNBA certainly can’t ask for a better way to kick off the week with the Las Vegas Aces and Chicago Sky squaring off for the Commissioner’s Cup championship on Tuesday night. There will also be a huge game between Seattle and Connecticut on Thursday.
The schedule is pretty light early in the week with just that one game before 13 games are played from Thursday-Sunday. There was just one game decided by three points or less a week ago but with the matchups on tap, that could change during the upcoming slate of games.
According to the WNBA betting line, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces pulled back ahead of Seattle’s Breanna Stewart in the odds to be named the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player. Wilson comes in at -125 while Stewart’s odds are +125. They were tied at +160 a week ago. Kelsey Plum, Wilson’s teammate, is next at +450 followed by New York’s Sabrina Ionescu at +1200.
The Aces (+160) continue to have the best odds to win the WNBA championship, according to the sportsbook. Chicago (+210), Seattle (+400) and Connecticut (+450) aren’t too far back.
Up next: vs Las Vegas, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET (PRIME VIDEO)
Not even the defending WNBA champions can win them all. Chicago’s eight-game winning streak came to an end with a three-point loss at New York the last time out. Chicago led by two points with less than 10 seconds to play before a Sabrina Ionescu three-point play gave New York the lead. Candace Parker and Emma Meesseman missed shots down the stretch that could have either given the Sky the lead or tied the game.
Point guard Courtney Vandersloot has missed the last four games as she worked her way through the concussion protocol and it is uncertain whether she will be good to go when Chicago meets Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Chicago has covered against the WNBA betting lines in four of its last six games.
Las Vegas Aces
Up next: at Chicago, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET (PRIME VIDEO)
The recent New York-Chicago game is a reminder that there is no such thing as a sure-fire win so the Aces will need to keep that in mind with the next two games on the road against the last-place Indiana Fever.
Las Vegas has won five of its last six games and only trails Chicago by a game in the standings. MVP candidates A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum are averaging 22.8 and 20.8 points per game during that stretch. Wilson is shooting 52% from the field while Plum is at 51.3%. Chelsea Gray has been contributing 14 points, 6.7 assists and 2.5 steals in those contests. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NBA props available for the Rockets vs Pacers matchup.
Las Vegas joins Chicago as the first two teams to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Now the teams will meet up on Tuesday night.
𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗜𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗘𝗥’𝗦 𝗖𝗨𝗣 🔜
Up Next 🛫 Chicago
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) July 24, 2022
The Aces are the top scoring team in the WNBA but something of note for those who bet online, four of the last Las Vegas games have gone under the total.
Up next: vs Seattle, Thursday, 7:00 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
The combination of Connecticut’s three-game winning streak as well as two wins this season against Seattle pushes the Sun ahead of the Storm in this week’s power rankings. With the teams set to meet on Thursday, we can find out which team deserves the No. 3 spot.
Alyssa Thomas has been in the middle of things during the current win streak. She posted the first triple-double in franchise history with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a 10-point win at Minnesota. Two days later she had 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Sun won the rematch 86-79.
Thomas is averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.3 steals during the winning streak. Five Sun players are averaging more than 10 points per game during this run led by Brionna Jones’ mark of 16.7 points per contest with reserve guard Dijonai Carrington not far off at 9.7 points per game.
The Sun recently added veteran guard Bria Hartley with the hopes that she can give Connecticut another scoring option off the bench.
Up next: at Connecticut, Thursday, 7:00 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
About the only thing keeping Seattle from being higher on this list is a 6-6 record on the road. With the next three games against Connecticut and then back-to-back contests with Washington, this would be a good time for the Storm to figure out how to string together some wins away from home.
Seattle bounced back from consecutive losses by beating Atlanta 82-72 at home on Sunday as Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart combined for 50 points and 25 rebounds. Charles became the fourth WNBA player to score at least 7,000 career points.
Charles has scored in double figures in seven straight games as she is fitting in rather well after being acquired by Seattle after she started the season in Phoenix.
Up next: at Dallas, Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
It was a pretty quiet week for Washington with just one game in the last seven days. Elena Delle Donne had 25 points in the 78-69 win over visiting New York. The sporadic schedule has allowed Delle Donne to be out there after she managed the games she played in during the early portion of the season as a result of her back issues.
A key for Washington moving forward will be to get rookie Shakira Austin more involved offensively. She is averaging 3.4 points on 5 of 16 shooting over the last five games.
Washington continues to lead the WNBA in scoring defense, allowing 75 points per game and Austin is a huge reason for that.
Up next: vs Los Angeles, Thursday, 10:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
Apparently turning 40 agrees with Diana Taurasi. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer has scored at least 20 points seven times in the 16 games since she hit the big 4-0. Taurasi is averaging 26.7 points. That included a 29-point effort in a win over Washington and 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as Phoenix topped Seattle 94-78 in the last regular-season meeting with her close friend and former UConn teammate Sue Bird.
Those two wins puts Phoenix ahead of teams with better records in the power rankings. Taurasi has had plenty of help. Sophie Cunningham has scored in double figures in 10 straight games. All-Star guard Skylar Diggins had 35 points in the win over Seattle and is averaging 26.3 points over her last four contests. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NBA props available for the Jazz vs Celtics matchup.
Los Angeles Sparks
Up next: at Phoenix, Thursday, 10:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
It is hard to know what to expect from this Los Angeles team. Each time when it seems like the Sparks are ready to distance themselves from the other teams in the middle of the pack, Los Angeles puts together a forgettable effort or two.
The last three losses have come by an average of nearly 22 points per game. Seattle, Chicago and Las Vegas are three of the best teams in the WNBA, but still those efforts are troubling.
The good news in the loss to Las Vegas was that reserve guard Chennedy Carter had 15 points, her highest scoring outburst since late May. Los Angeles is just 4-3 when Carter scores in double figures. That is still better than a 4-8 mark when she is held under 10 points.
Up next: at Las Vegas, Tuesday, 10:00 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
Atlanta has shown a bit of improvement since veteran guard Tiffany Hayes returned to the court with a 4-5 record. It has been pretty much all or nothing during that stretch with only one game decided by single digits.
Rookie of the Year front-runner Rhyne Howard is just 11 for 44 over the last two games so that will need to change for the Dream to move up in the standings. Fellow rookie Naz Hillmon is averaging 8.2 points and 9 rebounds over the last five games.
Up next: vs Washington, Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
Dallas games certainly are entertaining. Dallas has averaged 88 points and given up 87.8 over the last four contests.
Teaira McCowan is starting to show why Dallas traded for her in the offseason as the 6-foot-7 center is averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game during the month of July while playing just 19.2 minutes per game.
Isabelle Harrison, Allisha Gray and Marina Mabrey are also double-digit scorers in July as they have taken some of the offensive responsibilities off the shoulders of Arike Ogunbowale.
New York Liberty
Up next: at Chicago, Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
There is nothing quite like snapping a five-game losing streak by taking down the defending WNBA champions and ending Chicago’s six-game winning streak.
Sabrina Ionescu’s three-point play with 9.7 seconds left was the difference. It was an emotional game for Ionescu with the widow of NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant in the stands. Ionescu hugged Vanessa Bryant and her family members after the win. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NBA props available for the Nets vs Celtics matchup.
It was the first win since a thriller against Las Vegas as New York knows how to raise the level of its play against the elite teams. Bringing that same sense of urgency against every team will be the next step.
Up next: at Atlanta, Thursday, 7:00 p.m. ET (TWITTER)
Minnesota was hoping to pick up at least one win in a three-game stretch that began with a game at Washington before playing host to Connecticut twice in three days. Minnesota was competitive in all three games but lost all three as the Lynx were outscored by 23 points in the second quarter of those contests.
Having veteran center Sylvia Fowles miss the last of those games due to a knee injury is not good news. Nikolina Milic stepped up and contributed 26 points in the two games against Connecticut.
Up next: vs Las Vegas, Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
The good news is that Indiana has two more games – both at home – to avoid going winless in the month of July. The bad news is that both games are against Las Vegas.
Only two games during the current 12-game losing streak have been decided by single digits.
Veteran guard Kelsey Mitchell has been doing her part averaging 18.2 points while shooting 44% from the field, 45% from 3-point range and 80% from the foul line. Rookie NaLyssa Smith is the only other Indiana player averaging more than 10 points per game during the losing streak.
Indiana is the first team eliminated from the playoffs this season.