2020 WNBA Finals Preview

Sue+Bird+%28above%29+will+try+to+lead+her+Seattle+Storm+to+a+WNBA+championship.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

Sue Bird (above) will try to lead her Seattle Storm to a WNBA championship. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Maggie Flahive, Contributing Writer

For the fourth time in their team’s history and the second time in three seasons, the Seattle Storm will be taking the court in the WNBA finals starting this Friday. They entered the women’s bubble at IMG Academy in July as the favorite. One of the Storm’s most valuable players, who is making their comeback from a ruptured Achilles, Breanna Stewart, is on the road to leading the Storm to another championship win. 

Stewart played for the University of Connecticut, where she won four national championships and was named the most decorated women’s college basketball player of all time. In 2016 the Seattle Storm drafted Stewart first round, first pick. Before even stepping on the court, she signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike. Later that same year, she was named Rookie of the Year. 

In her third year in the league, the 6’4″ forward led the Seattle Storm to their third championship while being named the Most Valuable Player Award. In 2019, Stewart decided to play for the EuroLeague for Russia. A lot of WNBA players have to play overseas during the off season to have a more substantial income. Unfortunately, she ruptured her right Achilles tendon in the championship game, which led to months of grueling post-surgery rehab. 

As the season began, people watched Stewart to see if she would be able to bounce back. Stewart proved she’s ready for another Finals appearance with her performance in game 3. She finished the game, sweeping the Minnesota Lynx with a career playoff high of 31 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.  

Stewart’s teammate and 2002 first-round pick Sue Bird also had herself a game just falling short of a double-double, scoring 16 points with nine assists. In her 16th season with the Seattle Storm, Bird, who joined the league when it was only five years old, is looking for her fourth championship title. When asked about Stewart’s performance this season, she said, “Stewie is the best player on our team, in my opinion, the best player in the league.”

The Seattle Storm will play the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in the best of five Finals series starting Friday on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. The Aces beat the Storm twice during the regular season 82-74 and 86-84. Sue Bird did not play in either game, and Breanna Stewart did not play in the second game. 

Although the Aces head into the finals as the number one seed, beating the Storm is not going to be a walk in the park. Seattle has only lost one game in the finals — in 2004 — and they still ended up coming out on top against Connecticut. 

The 2020 WNBA Finals will be the Aces’ first trip to the finals in the franchise’s third season in Las Vegas. They will rely heavily on A’ja Wilson and Angel McCoughtry, who had a combined 43 points in game 5 of their last series. For the Storm to win their fourth championship, they will have to shut Wilson and McCoughtry down.