The Las Vegas Aces entered into the season as the favorites to win the champion and on Friday they remain in a position to advance to the WNBA Finals to satisfy the Chicago Sky. It hasn’t been a totally smooth trip for the Aces, particularly not in the previous week approximately. They were swept by the Connecticut Sun in the routine season and ended up second to the Sun in the standings. Then, they were burnt out by 20-plus in two-straight video games versus the Phoenix Mercury in the semifinals.
Those Mercury might seem the underdogs in Game 5 due to the fact that they have actually lost momentum after a 17-point Game 4 loss and now need to go into “The House” (Michelob ULTRA Arena). But Phoenix need to in fact feel great about itself considering its incredible display screen of star power in Games 2 and 3. Everyone in the WNBA must now fear the trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith for nevertheless long they stay together because, when they were all striking their shots versus the Aces, they appeared like and unstoppable force.
Vegas needs to hesitate going into Game 5 considering what took place in Games 2 and 3 when it appeared Phoenix might score at will. But that fear got the Aces to play disciplined in Game 4 and they went on a 24-0 run of their own en path to triumph. Vegas has offending firepower too — it had the very best scoring offense in the league by 5.5 points. It has the very best assembly of stars in the league, thus the preseason preferred status. Yet, it appears that if Taurasi is striking greatly objected to 3s from well beyond the arc and Griner is striking from mid-range (where Vegas needs to offer her some area) and Diggins-Smith is getting to the nasty line and making her totally free tosses, that trio is much more explosive that the 7 stars Vegas has. Now, it will take a best storm for Taurasi to be that ludicrous once again, however if she is, Phoenix might have the edge.
On the opposite of the Mercury’s offending spectrum, they had a hard time to discover methods to score in the preliminary versus the New York Liberty and required a non-star in Sophie Cunningham to make open shots. A Game 5 Mercury triumph will likely not be finished without some shots tore down by Shey Peddy from beyond the arc and Kia Vaughn from mid-range. The problem for Phoenix is that it might be simply Peddy and Vaughn supplying the additional offense due to the fact that Kia Nurse is out with a knee injury and Cunningham is doubtful with a left calf pressure.
The Aces need to close down Diana Taurasi and hope that she takes some shots regardless of being carefully covered and misses them. The Aces likewise need to beware not to nasty Taurasi in those circumstances, however they achieved success at that in Game 4, even drawing an offending nasty on Taurasi when she attempted to start contact. If Taurasi doesn’t take insane shots and rather passes to Griner, it will be on Griner to shoot a high portion from the field, whether that be on within shots or mid-range shots.
No. 6 seed Phoenix Mercury vs. No. 2 seed Las Vegas Aces
When: Friday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, NV
How to view: ESPN2 or TSN4
Key to the match: Brittney Griner. I think the Aces shouldn’t let Diana Taurasi beat them and I think they will utilize that method. That would leave it approximately Brittney Griner to end up within on pick-and-rolls and struck her mid-range shots in order for Phoenix to win.
Mercury injury report: Sophie Cunningham (doubtful; left calf pressure), Kia Nurse (out; best knee)
Aces injury report: Angel McCoughtry (out for season; right knee)