WNBA Outlook Playoff: 9/15 Preview


Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen shoots a jump hook over Mercury center Brianna Turner (Photo Credit Washington Mystics)



Connecticut Sun vs Chicago Sky

When: Tuesday, Sept 15th at 7pm.

Where:ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

TV: ESPN 2 / Radio: N/A

Injuries:

Connecticut: Bria Holmes (Out/Knee)

Chicago: Azura Stevens (Out/ Knee) , Diamond Deshields (Out/ Thigh Injury), Stephanie Mavunga (Questionable/ Knee)

Connecticut :

80.4- points per game

79.9 - points against

42.7 - Field goal %

Chicago:

86.7 - points per game

84.1 - points against

49.1 - field goal %

Individual Leaders: Con/Chi -

DeWanna Bonner 19.7 / Allie Quigley 15.9 -Points

Alyssa Thomas 9.0 / Cheyenne Parker 6.4 - Rebounds

Alyssa Thomas 4.8 / Courtney Vandersloot 10.0 - Assists

Key Match-ups:



Keep an eye on:

Will the Sun back-court step up?: Is the question and if the answer is no, they will be headed home sooner then later. It's no secret that point guard Jasmine Thomas hasn't played up to her standards this season. Thomas scoring, assists and three point shooting all dipped from a season ago. It's also been a revolving door at the two for Curt Miller as he tried to find the right fit with Briann January, rookie Kaila Charles and Bria Holmes before she went down with an injury. Connecticut guards will have to be on point in every way to deal with Chicago's back-court which is arguably the best back-court in the WNBA. Quigley is one of the most efficient shooting guards in the league, while Courtney Vandersloot has become the standard for the point guard position in the L, by once again leading the WNBA in assists with 10 finds per game and knocking on the door of joining the 50/40/90 club herself, after averaging 13.6 points on 49 percent shooting from the field, 39 percent shooting from deep and 88 percent shooting from the free throw line. With Stevens and Deshields out, Chicago's back-court will be even more aggressive to make up for their loss of production from those two players. Will the Sun guards accept the challenge and help out Bonner and Thomas so Connecticut can win? We shall see.



Phoenix Mercury vs Washington Mystics

When: Tuesday, Sept 15th at 9pm.

Where:ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

TV: ESPN 2 / Radio: N/A

Injuries:

Phoenix: Brittney Griner (Out/ Personal Reasons), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Probable/ Leg), Bria Hartley (Out/ Torn ACL), Nia Coffey (Out/Foot)

Washington: Aerial Powers (Out/Hamstring), Stella Johnson (Out/ Left Ankle)

Phoenix:

86.1 - points per game

84.1 - points against

45.0 - Field goal %

Washington:

80.0 - points per game

81.5 - points against

43.3 - field goal %

Individual Leaders: Pho/Was -

Diana Taurasi 18.7 / Myisha Hines-Allen 17.0 -Points

Brianna Turner 8.9 / Myisha Hines-Allen 8.9 - Rebounds

Diana Taurasi 4.5 / Leilani Mitchell 5.5 - Assists

Key Match-ups:

Leilani Mitchell vs Skylar Diggins-Smith

Ariel Atkins vs Diana Taurasi

Myisha Hines-Allen vs Brianna Turner

Emma Meesseman vs Kia Vaughn


Keep an eye on:

Back-court Battle: is one to key on as the Mystics back-court of point guard Leilani Mitchell and guard Ariel Atkins look to better the Mercury's All WNBA back-court of Skylar Diggins-Smith and the living legend Diana Taurasi.


Mitchell, a career 36 percent shooter from deep in the playoffs, is a threat at all times due to her ability to shoot with range and manipulate defenses out of pick & roll sets. While she's small, if shes hitting her shots, Diggins-Smith will have her hands full trying to contain Mitchell. Diggins-Smith, who hasn't had much playoff experience (two games), has the advantage all around due to her play-making and scoring ability. Phoenix floor general had arguably the most efficient season of her career this season, nearly joining the exclusive 50/40/90 club after averaging 17.7 points and 4.2 assists on 47 percent shooting from the field, 39 percent shooting from deep and 90 percent shooting from the charity stripe. Washington will need to be on a string to try to disrupt Diggins-Smith efficiency.


Taurasi found her rhythm once Griner left and she has that Taurasi "I'm about to kill everybody" look going right now. Taurasi shut the critics up who felt she was done by leading the Mercury in scoring and assist...keep in mind that this is her 16th season. In two wins over Washington, Taurasi is averaging 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 54 percent shooting from the field and a ridiculous 50 percent shooting from 3-point territory. Stating the obvious, Taurasi has had her way. It'll be a tough task to slow down the living legend and it's one that im sure will be done by committee with Ariel Atkins and Kiara Leslie getting their shot at Taurasi. The best defense may be a strong offense and it's a job Atkins is more then ready for. Atkins has put together her best all around season as a pro, putting up career highs in NINE statistical categories, including points per game (14.7), Steals (1.8), minutes (31.0), field goal percentage (43%), three point percentage (40%) and free throw percentage (88%). She's become arguably the Mystics top two way threat. Making Taurasi have to defend and fatiguing her could be key to keeping Taurasi in check. Keep a close eye on this match-up.