The 2022 WNBA Playoffs are heating up with just four teams remaining, including the star-studded Seattle Storm. Highlighted by Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd, and more, the team finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference at 22-14. This is the organization’s seventh consecutive season in the playoffs, with two championships to their name. The Storm cruised by the Washington Mystics in a dominant 2-0 series win in the opening round and now have their attention set on the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in the semifinals. Here are three Storm predictions for their matchup in the WNBA Playoffs against the Aces.
Seattle Storm 2022 WNBA Semifinals Predictions
3. Breanna Stewart scores 28+ points at least once
Breanna Stewart is one of the premier players across the entire WNBA. The 27-year-old is already a four-time All-Star and the 2018 MVP. She has never averaged fewer than 18.3 points in her career and is a true superstar by every definition. During the regular season, Stewart averaged 21.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.6 steals. In the two games of the postseason thus far, the UConn product averaged 22.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.5 steals.
If the Storm are to have the type of success they desire, they will need Stewart to play a major role. The biggest stars shine brightest on the biggest stages, so look for her to do just this. She scored 28 or more points seven times during the regular season this year. Expect her to bring out another one of these impactful performances and lead the team with 28+ points at least once during the upcoming series.
2. Sue Bird records two double-doubles
At 41 years old, Sue Bird may not be the prime-time star she once was, but she still certainly has game. With the legend set to retire following this postseason run, expect her to leave it all out on the court. Bird played 26.4 minutes per game this season and produced 7.8 points, 6.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. While the team certainly wanted to ease the wear and tear on her body during the regular season, expect some additional minutes in the postseason. Through the first two games of the playoffs, she saw her minutes rise all the way up to 32.5 minutes per game.
While her assist numbers stayed the same (six per game) through the first two games of the postseason, there is plenty of time for her to find her stride. At this stage of her career, Bird will still be taking somewhat of a step back from the primary producer role she held in the past. Even still, her high basketball IQ and ability with the ball in her are sure to be put on display.
Look for Bird to operate as the primary distributor for the offense and ensure it is running up to its best ability. The WNBA and Storm legend should be counted on to prove she still has some gas in the tank and contribute to the team’s success. Count on two double-doubles from Sue Bird as the team will lean on her experience once again in the postseason showdown.
1. The Storm pull off the upset
Despite the Las Vegas Aces being regarded as comfortable favorites, the Storm have just about everything you want in a serious contender. They have star power, effective role players, and plenty of experience. Breanna Stewart has only improved since playing a key role as the focal point in the previous two championships. Taking another trip to the Finals to cap off Sue Bird’s farewell tour would be the perfect storyline to send her out. However, this must start by getting by the Aces.
As a team, the Storm averaged 82.5 points per game this season while shooting 44.2% from the floor. They averaged 33.6 rebounds and ranked second in the WNBA in assists. Both the Aces and Storm shot 36.1% on 3-point attempts this season, which was tied for the best percentage in the league. They also ranked first and second in the fewest turnovers per game.
One area to watch is the swarming Storm defense as Seattle forced 15.6 turnovers per game this season, which was the third-most in the WNBA. In contrast, the Aces had the third-fewest in this category. The Storm also held opponents to just 78.4 points per game compared to the 84.1 of Vegas.
It is sure to be a hard-fought battle between two of the WNBA’s premier teams. However, the Seattle Storm have the championship characteristics that you look for and are set to put this on display once again. Expect them to play a connected brand of basketball and find a way to get back to the Finals for the first time since 2020.