Phoenix Mercury vs. Seattle Storm 10:00pm ET ESPN 2
In an emotional and ultra competitive game, Breanna Stewart led all scorers with 28 as the Seattle Storm took game one of the WNBA playoff semifinals 91-87.
In an emotional Phoenix can't fall back 2-0 to Seattle, finding a way to squeeze one out on the road is the only focus. But how will they do it? Here are the keys to Phoenix evening the series and for Seattle to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
– Griner's Play Offensively: Seattle did a great job defending Brittney Griner with the trap in game one. The 6-9 center was held to just 13 points after averaging 20.5 in the regular season. It will be up to Phoenix to adjust and get her going a bit more offensively with better perimeter screening action, deeper looks and high-low scenarios.
– Strong Starts: The Mercury came out slow and sluggish to start the second half in game one. They cannot dig themselves a hole early in the game or at the beginning of the second half. Tonight, they need to be one the ones coming out swinging for 40 consistent minutes if they want to steal one at KeyArena.
– Limit Turnovers: Seattle forced Phoenix into way too many turnovers in game one. Actually, a lot of those were unforced. They're way too talented of a team and disciplined to be turning the ball over 16 times. Valuing the ball and each possession is even more critical come playoff time and giving yourself a chance.
– MVP "Stewie" Continuing to Dominate: Breanna Stewart's play this season is at the best of her career. She's coming off a 28 point performance in game one. For Seattle to run through Phoenix in route to the Finals, Stewie needs to be great once again tonight and on both ends of the floor.
– Second Change Opportunities: Seattle snagged 12 in game one, and a crucial one down the stretch that sealed the game. They've got to keep attacking the glass, continue to be aggressive when the shot goes up. It comes down to possessions and what you do with them in high level matchups like this. The more possessions Seattle can secure, the better change they have.
– Continuing to Share the Basketball: The balanced offensive output and ability to share the ball between Seattle's top five make them extremely difficult to defend.
The most poised team for 40 minutes will win this game, and I have a feeling that will be the Seattle Storm. When these two collide, it's always an epic battle down to the wire. The combination of the way Seattle is currently playing with being at home, I feel they have the slight edge.
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