The National Women's Hockey League continues its offseason with numerous player signings, its first international draft and several front office moves. In case you've missed anything over the last few weeks, let's take a look at what's happened in the league.
With two weeks left of the WNBA regular season, it's time to look at where everyone sits. Here are the top five teams in the league right now and how they got there. The standings are tight through these top five contenders, though. While Seattle, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles have clinched playoff berths, the final standings are still in flux.
#1 Seattle Storm - 13 wins, 3 losses
The Seattle Storm have fought their way to the top this season. They are performing well despite veteran Sue Bird being out with an injury. Australian forward rookie Ezi Magbegor's immense energy has kept the team moving forward. Selected by the Storm with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, the 19-year old standout Magbegor has continued to develop her game. Her team-best shooting percentage of 54.9% is a welcome complement to the all-around dominance of veteran teammates Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd.
#2 Las Vegas Aces - 12 wins, 3 losses
Las Vegas is playing at the second-fastest pace in the league this year, averaging 83.1 possessions per 40 minutes. There are no weak links at this time. Dearica Hamby is averaging double figures in scoring despite not having started a game this season. Jackie Young is close behind her. Only seven players in WNBA history have done that. They have earned the number 2 spot without a doubt thanks to this fast and aggressive style.
#3 Los Angeles Sparks - 12 wins, 3 losses
Coming in at number three in the league, the Sparks are holding the line. Los Angeles won their ninth consecutive game, defeating the Atlanta Dream 84-79 in a close game on Sunday in Bradenton, Florida, improving the team's record to 12-3. "[The playoffs] are the first step to giving yourself an opportunity to play for a championship," Head Coach Derek Fisher said. "We're fortunate to clinch that opportunity tonight." The Sparks are fighting for their gains in the standings. Britney Sykes scored 15 points for LA, including six straight in a pivotal stretch of the fourth quarter, to lead the Sparks in scoring for the day. Chelsea Gray, coming off a season-high 27 points in Friday’s win, scored 14 of her own, including the game-sealing jump shot.
#4 Minnesota Lynx - 10 wins, 5 losses
The Minnesota Lynx will match up tonight after their game was postponed last week. Sylvia Fowles is currently out with an injury. The Lynx have two rookies on their current roster: 2020 draft choices Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (1st round/6th overall) and Crystal Dangerfield (2nd round/16th overall). The new energy on the roster adds to veteran presence to create a difficult team to beat.
#5 Chicago Sky - 10 wins, 6 losses
The Sky has had a rough week with Stephanie Mavunga, Diamond DeShields, and Azurá Stevens all out for various reasons.
Despite recent losses, Chicago remains to be on pace for its best start in franchise history. If the Sky wins its next three games, it will match the 13-5 record the 2013 team that finished with 24-10. Not too shabby. Kahleah Copper has gone 13 straight games with a double-digit scoring total. She's averaging 15.4 PPG, more than double her career average of 7.2 PPG, and is shooting 50.8% from the floor. Ruthy Hebard currently ranks second in the WNBA in field goal percentage, with a 62.5% clip from the floor during her first 15 career games. She has shot better than 60% in nine consecutive games. They have the heart and the power to push ahead and improve their standing by the playoffs.
Speaking of the Chicago Sky: players on the team will donate $10 for every point, $100 for every win, and $50 for any loss throughout the 2020 WNBA season under a social justice initiative called #SkyTakesAction. The Sky have donated $15,170 through their collective total points, ten wins, and six losses this season. The combined total currently is $26,450. They are creating social impact wins with every point. That is amazing.
Filed under: wnba; basketball; seattle storm; las vegas aces; ezi magbegor; dearica hamby; los angeles sparks; britney sykes; chelsea gray; minnesota lynx; mikiah herbert harrigan; crystal dangerfield; chicago sky; kahleah copper; ruthy hebard
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