Star-studded Storm Eye Semifinal Upset
There is plenty of star power in the WNBA semifinal series between the visiting Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces, with seven former No. 1 overall picks set to hit the court.
Las Vegas features the trio of A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young. A good Seattle team became even better when Tina Charles walked away from the Phoenix Mercury and signed with the Storm. She joins Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and retiring point guard Sue Bird.
Las Vegas overwhelmed a shorthanded Phoenix team in the first round while Seattle also won two straight games to eliminate Washington in the opening round.
Las Vegas has the best odds at -110 to win the WNBA championship according to the WNBA playoff odds. Seattle’s odds come in at +425.
The series price currently has Las Vegas at -240 to reach the WNBA finals while Seattle’s odds are +200.
Bird Bidding for Farewell for the Ages
Future Hall of Fame point guard Bird didn’t light things up during the regular season. Bird, who announced that this would be her final season, averaged a career-low 7.8 points while shooting just 40.3 percent from the field. She also became reliant on 3-pointers for her offense with 68 percent of her field goal attempts coming from 3-point range.
Bird has always been a player who performed best when the lights were the brightest, whether it was in high school, college, playing for the national title, performing overseas or in the WNBA. With that being said, perhaps it shouldn’t be a shock that her points per game jumped to 14 in the two postseason games against Washington.
With MVP candidate Stewart, Loyd and Charles all on hand to do the heavy lifting on offense, Bird scoring like she did against the Mystics makes Seattle a very dangerous team.
The WNBA betting lines total has gone over in Seattle’s last five games and in six of the Storm’s last seven road contests.
Aces Showing off Offensive Depth
There is more to the Las Vegas Aces than MVP favorite Wilson.
Wilson was the fourth-leading scorer for Las Vegas in the first-round series as she averaged 12.5 points in the two wins over Phoenix.
Chelsea Gray, who averaged 13.7 points during the regular season, contributed 22 points per contest against the Mercury. She had 27 points and eight assists in 25 minutes in the clinching win against Phoenix. Kelsey Plum also put up 22 points per game while Jackie Young averaged 15.5 points.
“She’s competing against herself. That’s her competitive drive. That’s who she is. That’s her D.N.A.” — @NatalieNakase
ALL IN Miniseries | @KelseyPlum10 Feature PT I ▶️⬇️
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) August 25, 2022
Another surprise was Kiah Stokes having 14 points in the two playoff games. Stokes scored two points or less in 21 in 31 games during the regular season. She did have 18 points in the final two games of the regular season to set the stage for the postseason scoring success. Stokes has needed to step up offensively with Dearica Hamby sidelined with a knee injury.
Something to consider for those who bet online: Las Vegas is 4-2 against the spread in its last six games and has also covered in four of its last six home contests.
Storm vs Aces Game Information
- Game: Storm 22-14 vs Aces 26-10
- Location: Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas
- Day/Time: Sunday, Aug. 28, 4 p.m. ET
- Storm vs Aces Live Stream: WNBA.com
Storm vs Aces Betting Lines
|Seattle Storm||+5½ -110||+190||170½ -110o||82½ -115o
|Las Vegas Aces||-5½ -110||-230||170½ -110u||88 -115o
Storm vs Aces Prediction
Las Vegas barely broke a sweat playing against a Phoenix team in the first round of the playoffs that didn’t have Skylar Diggins-Smith, Diana Taurasi or Brittney Griner. Things figure to be a little more challenging in the semifinals.
If there is a concern for Seattle, the Storm were just 9-9 on the road during the regular season and will open the best-of-five series with the first two games being played in Las Vegas. The Aces were tied for the second-best home record (13-5) during the regular season. Also, keep an eye on the status of Seattle’s Gabby Williams, who left the last game with a concussion. She could be a key defensive player to match up against the talented perimeter scorers for the Aces.
Las Vegas won three of the four games with Seattle during the regular season, with the last two contests going over the total.
Wilson led the way, averaging 22.8 points on 52.9% shooting to go with 11.8 points per game. Plum, Gray and Young combined for 48 points per contest.
Stewart and Loyd averaged 22.8 and 20.5 points, respectively, in the four games against the Aces. However, no other player averaged double digits and that will need to change for Seattle to pull off the upset. The Aces have won the last three home games against the Storm, with four of the last five games between the teams played in Seattle going over the total.
Las Vegas looked every bit the part of the WNBA title favorites in the first round of the playoffs and Seattle will have its hands full slowing down the Aces. However, the 5½-point line does seem a bit on the high side.