Bradenton, FL (September 9, 2020)—The Las Vegas Aces (15-4) still control their own destiny with regards to postseason seeding, but they don’t have an easy road, as they close out the 2020 regular season with games at Minnesota (13-7), Thursday, September 10; at Los Angeles (15-5), Saturday, September 12; and at Seattle (16-3), Sunday, September 13.
With Tuesday night’s win over the Indiana Fever, the Aces have secured no worse than the number four seed, which gets them a bye into the second round. Victories in each of the final three games, would give Las Vegas the one seed. Any other combination of wins and losses would leave the team’s fate up to the tie-breaker gods.
For you scoreboard watchers, the game to watch this evening with playoff implications features the Storm against the Dallas Wings (7-12). You will want to root for Dallas. Tomorrow night, the Sparks take on the Washington Mystics (6-13). Please pull for Washington.
A win over Minnesota, Thursday, would guarantee Las Vegas at least the three seed.
The Lynx began the 2020 season by going 9-3, but since then, they have played .500 basketball. Two of the their last four losses are to playoff-bound Seattle and Phoenix (12-8), but the other two are against Atlanta (5-14) and Washington (6-13).
Part of the reason for Minnesota’s struggles is the loss of Sylvia Fowles due to a right calf strain which occurred during the team’s August 13 game against the Aces. The six-time All-Star was averaging 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds, while connecting on 60.9 percent of her field goal attempts at the time.
2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier, potential 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield, and five-year veteran Damiris Dantas have all picked up the scoring slack in Fowles’ absence. Over the past 12 games, the trio are averaging 17.8, 18.2 and 14.4 points per game respectively.
Despite the loss of the league’s all-time leading rebounder, the Lynx are the top offensive rebounding team in the WNBA (.339), and second in the league in second chance points per game (13.1). They have the fifth most efficient offense in the association (105.5), the fifth highest effective field goal percentage (.511), and the sixth best free throw rate (.282).
Defensively, Minnesota is also ranked fifth in the league, allowing 99.8 points per 100 possessions.
Las Vegas is 26-58 all-time against the Lynx, but has won three of the last four, and four of the last six meetings between the clubs.