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WNBA Playoffs get Underway, Fowles AP Player of the Year, Notes

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Lots of stuff happening in the women’s game today

WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA playoffs get underway today with the first round games:

Dallas Wings at Washington Mystics 7:00 pm CDT ESPN2

Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury 9:00 pm CDT ESPN2

The Mystics just missed out on avoiding the Wings via tiebreaker on the last day of the season, which might haunt them. The Wings won two of the three matchups between the teams, including a late season win in Washington. The Wings get to the line better than any other team, and have an advantage at point guard, where Skylar Diggins-Smith has had an outstanding season.

The Mystics were expected to be a contender this season after acquiring Kristi Toliver and former MVP Elena Delle Donne. Unfortunately injuries have hampered them, and while they have occasionally shown flashes of what they could be, they haven’t come together as hoped. Perhaps expecting excellence immediately with this group was unfair, but there’s a lot of talent here and it’s been a bit underwhelming.

The Mercury should advance in the late game, but they’ve been very inconsistent all season. Winning streaks and losing streaks throughout. They won three straight to close the season and earn the fifth seed, but their defense has been very up and down over the last couple of seasons. The Storm return to the playoffs behind some young talent like Jewell Lloyd and Breanna Stewart.

Elsewhere, Sylvia Fowles was named AP Player of the Year. We’ll have more on Fowles as the playoffs unfold, but she was terrific this season, scoring with efficiency, rebounding, and dominating the paint. Her emergence this season as an MVP caliber player was huge for the Lynx, and she’ll have to keep it going in the playoffs for the Lynx to win another title.

NOTES

  • Ex-Lynx Sugar Rogers (Currently with the Liberty) won the AP 6th man of the year.
  • Maya Moore made AP second team all-WNBA.
  • Excellent piece on Jimmy Butler at Vice. Long, but worth reading. Hopefully he can get the squad focused and working.
  • The USMNT managed to salvage a point with a late Bobby Wood goal in Honduras, though it was not pretty. A grim two game set that. Will need to win the last two (Panama, at Trinidad & Tobago) to guarantee qualification.

This is your open thread. Treat it nicely.