This past week, the Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces became the first two teams to clinch a berth in the 2022 WNBA Playoffs. On Tuesday, the two teams will meet for the third time this season in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship (8:30 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime Video).
Las Vegas won the first meeting 83-76 on May 28 in Chicago behind double-doubles from A’ja Wilson (22 points, 16 rebounds) and Dearica Hamby (14 points, 14 rebounds) to improve to 8-1 on the season. The Aces would open the season 13-2 to take a commanding lead in both the Commissioner’s Cup and overall league standings.
The Aces appeared on their way to improving to 14-2 when they faced the Sky again on June 21, leading by as many as 28 points in the second quarter before the Sky came charging back. Behind 25 points and eight assists from Courtney Vandersloot and a double-double from Candace Parker (17 points, 10 rebounds), the Sky completed the largest comeback in WNBA history with a 104-95 win.
The win ignited a five-game win streak for the Sky and a run that saw the defending champs win 11 of 12 games to ascend to the top of the standings and steal the title of the hottest team in the league. On Tuesday, we get the rubber match in the culmination of the 2022 Commissioner’s Cup, which you can learn more about here.
1. Chicago Sky (21-7)
- Previous Ranking: 1
- Last Week’s Results: W vs. SEA 78-74; W vs. DAL 89-83; L at NYL 83-80
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday vs. LVA; Friday vs. NYL; Sunday at CON
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.0 (T-2); DefRtg: 98.0 (T-4); NetRtg: 7.0 (2); eFG%: 52.9 (1); Pace/40: 80.58 (5)
On Wednesday, the Sky became the first team to reach 20 wins and the first to clinch a spot in the 2022 WNBA Playoffs. After win at home over Dallas on Friday, the Sky were unable to complete the back-to-back in Brooklyn on Saturday as the fell to the Liberty and saw their six-game win streak snapped. Next up is the Commissioner’s Cup Championship on Tuesday, followed another game with New York before the Sky hit the road to take on Connecticut – their only road game until August 11.
2. Las Vegas Aces (20-8)
- Previous Ranking: 3
- Last Week’s Results: L vs. ATL 92-76; W vs. IND 90-77; W vs. LAS 84-66
- This Week’s Schedule: Tuesday at CHI; Friday at IND; Sunday at IND
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 108.3 (1); DefRtg: 101.3 (6); NetRtg: 6.9 (3); eFG%: 52.2 (2); Pace/40: 83.20 (1)
With their 84-66 win over Los Angeles on Saturday, the Aces joined the Sky as the only teams to reach 20 wins so far and clinch a playoff berth. After stumbling into the All-Star break, the Aces have bounced back nicely, winning five of their six games coming out of All-Star. This week begins with the Commissioner’s Cup Championship in Chicago, before a quick trip to Indiana for a two-game set with a Fever team that has lost 12 straight games.
3. Connecticut Sun (19-9)
- Previous Ranking: 4
- Last Week’s Results: W vs. NYL 82-63; W at MIN 94-84; W at MIN 86-79
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. SEA; Sunday vs. CHI
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.0 (T-2); DefRtg: 96.6 (3); NetRtg: 8.4 (1); eFG%: 50.8 (3); Pace/40: 80.21 (7)
Similar to the Aces, the Sun have won five of their six games coming out of the All-Star break and are coming off a perfect 3-0 week with wins over New York and Minnesota. The first of two wins over the Lynx this past week saw Alyssa Thomas post the first triple-double in franchise history as she finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a 94-84 win. Connecticut opens a four-game homestand on Thursday against Seattle.
4. Seattle Storm (18-10)
- Previous Ranking: 2
- Last Week’s Results: L at CHI 78-74; L at PHX 94-78; W vs. ATL 82-72
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday at CON; Saturday at WAS; Sunday at WAS
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.0 (7); DefRtg: 94.8 (2); NetRtg: 5.2 (5); eFG%: 49.4 (T-7); Pace/40: 80.11 (8)
The Storm went 1-2 over the past week, dropping two games on the road – at Chicago and at Phoenix in the highly-anticipated final regular season game between longtime friends and teammates Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi – before bouncing back with a home win over Atlanta on Sunday. Seattle has the biggest discrepancy between home wins (12-4) and road wins (6-6) in the league this season. This week sees the Storm on a three-game road trip with stops in Connecticut and Washington for a two-game set with the Mystics.
5. Washington Mystics (17-11)
- Previous Ranking: 5
- Last Week’s Results: W vs. NYL 78-69
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday at DAL; Saturday vs. SEA; Sunday vs. SEA
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.6 (8); DefRtg: 94.3 (1); NetRtg: 5.3 (4); eFG%: 49.3 (9); Pace/40: 78.59 (12)
The Mystics had only one game on the schedule this past week and they took care of business with a home win over the Liberty behind Elena Delle Donne’s 25 points. However, the schedule is about get much busier as the Mystics have four games in the span of six days beginning Thursday in Dallas, followed by a home back-to-back against Seattle on Saturday and Sunday and wrapping against Las Vegas on Tuesday. Washington currently sits one game behind Seattle for the No. 4 spot in the standings (and home-court advantage in a potential first round matchup). Having lost the first meeting with the Storm on June 23, the Mystics would need to sweep this two-game set to earn the tiebreak.
6. Los Angeles Sparks (12-15)
- Previous Ranking: 6
- Last Week’s Results: W vs. IND 86-79; W vs. ATL 85-78; L at LVA 84-66
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday at PHX; Sunday vs. MIN
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 98.9 (9); DefRtg: 105.3 (11); NetRtg: -6.4 (11); eFG%: 49.8 (6); Pace/40: 80.92 (4)
After Washington, there is a four-game drop in the standings, down to a pack of six teams battling for the final three playoff spots over the next three weeks. The Sparks currently lead that pack as they lead the season series with the Wings 2-1. At 12-5, L.A. and Dallas are one game up in the loss column on both Atlanta and Phoenix at 12-16, followed by New York (10-17) and Minnesota (10-19). The Sparks posted a 2-1 week with their only loss coming to Las Vegas. This week, the Sparks visit Phoenix on Thursday before hosting Minnesota on Sunday as they look to maintain their hold on the No. 6 spot.
7. Dallas Wings (12-15)
- Previous Ranking: 7
- Last Week’s Results: L at CHI 89-83; W at IND 96-86
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. WAS; Saturday at ATL
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.7 (4); DefRtg: 103.4 (7); NetRtg: -0.7 (6); eFG%: 48.6 (10); Pace/40: 79.96 (9)
After dropping a pair of games to the defending champion Sky in just under a week’s time, the Wings bounced back with a win over Indiana to avoid a three-game losing streak. Dallas is 2-3 since the All-Star break with their two wins coming against the two teams with the bottom two records in the league – Minnesota (10-19) and Indiana (5-25) – with a combined record of just 15-44 on the season.
8. Phoenix Mercury (12-16)
- Previous Ranking: 10
- Last Week’s Results: W vs. SEA 94-78
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. LAS; Sunday at NYL
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.4 (6); DefRtg: 104.6 (10); NetRtg: -2.2 (8); eFG%: 50.0 (4); Pace/40: 80.35 (6)
Similar to Washington, the Mercury had a light week on the schedule with only one game – the final installment of Diana vs. Sue, with Taurasi scoring 28 points and Skylar Diggins-Smith matching her career high with 35 points in the 94-78 win. Also similar to Washington, the Mercury’s schedule is about to get busier with four games in the span of seven days beginning on Thursday with Phoenix hosting the Sparks before hitting the road for three straight games.
9. Atlanta Dream (12-16)
- Previous Ranking: 8
- Last Week’s Results: W at LVA 92-76; L at LAS 85-78; L at SEA 82-72
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday vs. MIN; Saturday vs. DAL
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.1 (11); DefRtg: 98.0 (T-4); NetRtg: -2.8 (9); eFG%: 47.6 (11); Pace/40: 81.20 (3)
Atlanta got off to a great start last week with a 92-76 win over Las Vegas behind a combined 55 points from Tiffany Hayes (31) and rookie Rhyne Howard (24). However, the Dream were unable to build on that win as they dropped their next two games at Los Angeles and at Seattle to finish their road trip at 2-2. The Dream start a four-game homestand on Thursday against Minnesota as they look to build on their 6-7 home record.
10. New York Liberty (10-17)
- Previous Ranking: 11
- Last Week’s Results: L at CON 82-63; L at WAS 78-69; W vs. CHI 83-80
- This Week’s Schedule: Friday at CHI; Sunday vs. PHX
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.6 (10); DefRtg: 103.8 (8); NetRtg: -6.3 (10); eFG%: 49.9 (5); Pace/40: 79.89 (10)
The Liberty entered Saturday’s game against Chicago in desperate need of a win to snap their five-game losing streak and avoid falling any further in the standings. Behind 17 points, eight rebounds and nine assists from Sabrina Ionescu – including a three-point play with under 10 seconds to play that put the Liberty up for good – the Liberty scratched out an 83-80 win. Now the question is can they do it again, as New York opens this week’s play in Chicago to take on the Sky.
11. Minnesota Lynx (10-19)
- Previous Ranking: 9
- Last Week’s Results: L vs. CON 94-84; L vs. CON 86-79
- This Week’s Schedule: Thursday at ATL; Sunday at LAS
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.6 (5); DefRtg: 104.3 (9); NetRtg: -1.7 (7); eFG%: 49.4 (T-7); Pace/40: 79.85 (11)
The Lynx have lost three straight and four of their last five games after dropping a pair of home games to the Sun this past week. After opening the season 3-13 through 16 games, the Lynx bounced back impressively by winning seven of their following 10 games to get back into the playoff race. However, this current three-game slide drops them to 19 losses – which is three more than the two teams currently battling for the eighth and final playoff spot. That slow start to the season, coupled with this recent skid, has taken away much of Minnesota’s margin for error down the stretch.
12. Indiana Fever (5-25)
- Previous Ranking: 12
- Last Week’s Results: L at LAS 86-79; L at LVA 90-77; L vs. DAL 96-86
- This Week’s Schedule: Friday vs. LVA; Sunday vs. LVA
- Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.0 (12); DefRtg: 107.2 (12); NetRtg: -12.2 (12); eFG%: 45.7 (12); Pace/40: 81.99 (2)
The Fever became the first team eliminated from playoff contention this season, extending their streak to six straight seasons in the lottery after their record-breaking run of 12 straight playoff berths. Speaking of 12, the Fever have now dropped 12 in a row, which matches their longest single-season losing streak in franchise history. And, things don’t get any easier, with two games against the Aces on the schedule this week.