August 17, 2022
Locked on Women’s Basketball: 2022 WNBA Playoffs stats to know, predictions and hot takes
Howard Megdal Founder/Editor of The Next discusses a series-by-series breakdown and predictions for the first round of the 2022 WNBA Playoffs
It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Howard Megdal to discuss stats to know, series-by-series breakdown and predictions for the first round of the 2022 WNBA Playoffs.
Howard breaks down the No. 2 seed (Chicago Sky) versus the No. 7 (New York Liberty):
“Sabrina Ionescu, by the way, was on my all-WNBA first team. That’s how good she’s been down the stretch, but a big reason why she’s been so good is she’s been paired a lot of the time with Marine Johannès, who has absolutely been the playmaker you need next to Sabrina to maximize. So we saw this even in Oregon, but she had fellow playmakers next to her at Oregon. She was at her best.
[Chicago] they have a do-everything player in Candace Parker. But if Parker gets into foul trouble, they ask Azurá Stevens to come in as a ridiculous luxury. They’ve got Courtney Vandersloot as a leader point guard, as you can find in this league, give or take to Chelsea Gray but if Vandersloot is out, you bring in Julie Allemand. That’s ridiculous, the amount of talent up and down this roster. So I think the Liberty steal a game in this one. It’s the best of three games, one and two on the home court of the higher seed and game three on the home court of the lower seed. I think Chicago comes in and wins game three in Barclays Center, but I think it’s going to be intense.”
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Howard breaks down series number two, No. 1 seed ( Las Vegas Aces) versus No. 8 seed (Phoenix Mercury):
“I do not think this one goes three. But in the event, Phoenix can keep it close. The fourth quarter has not been Las Vegas’ friend. It has not. The Aces’ net rating overall this year is 7.7, second best and only behind Connecticut. In the fourth quarter, they are minus 0.3. They’re a bunch of different factors to that. One is, the starters play a lot. And they get tired. I saw it firsthand a couple of weeks ago here in New York. The second is Becky Hammon; for all the success she’s had this year has not been making a lot of use of her bench. So that leads to two factors. One, when they are out there, they don’t have the same kind of wraps that other people’s rotation members do around the league.
[Phoenix] they’re missing a lot, Kia Nurse, who’s not back. You’re asking Diamond DeShields to be a star. She can be, by the way; they went 2-2 down the stretch to earn this playoff berth. And Diamond went for 24 and 25 in those two wins. And Sophie Cunningham is 46.2% from three over the final four games of the season. So you get in a game late and Sophie can win a game with her perimeter shooting and maybe they could steal one.”
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