2022 WNBA playoffs: Connecticut Solar vs. Chicago Sky second-round preview, keys to sequence, gamers to observe

August 28, 2022

The Connecticut Solar are of their fourth consecutive semifinals and nonetheless chasing their first WNBA title, however getting previous this spherical will not be simple. The Solar are taking up the defending champions Chicago Sky, a staff they have not been capable of beat since September 2021, and likewise the identical staff that eradicated them throughout the semifinals final yr. 

Neither staff was capable of get a sweep throughout the first spherical, however they each bounced again in spectacular methods after their losses. The Sky took a 98-91 loss at residence throughout Sport 1 towards the New York Liberty after lacking 10 of their final 11 photographs. Not an excellent approach to begin the playoffs, however they bounced again and responded with a 38-point blowout victory throughout Sport 2 with a 100-62 consequence.

In the meantime, the Solar gained their first recreation towards the Dallas Wings however took a 89-79 loss in Sport 2, when Connecticut struggled to cease the Wings’ sizzling efficiency from past the arc. The Solar have been extra stable in Sport 3 once they took a 73-58 victory on the street, holding the Wings to their lowest rating of the sequence.

Forward of Sunday evening’s Sport 1, let’s take a better take a look at this best-of-five sequence:

Second spherical schedule

(All occasions are japanese)

  • Sport 1: Connecticut Solar at Chicago Sky; Sunday Aug. 28; ESPN2, 8:00 PM ET
  • Sport 2: Connecticut Solar at Chicago Sky; Wednesday Aug. 31; ESPN2, 8:00 PM ET
  • Sport 3: Chicago Sky at Connecticut Solar; Sunday Sept. 4; ESPN2, 1:00 PM ET
  • Sport 4*: Chicago Sky at Connecticut Solar; Tuesday Sept. 6; ESPN2, Time TBD
  • Sport 5*: Connecticut Solar at Chicago Sky; Thursday Sept. 8; ESPN2, Time TBD
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* if mandatory

Gamers to observe

Solar: Jonquel Jones 

Jones continues to play just like the reigning MVP she is. She completed the common season because the staff chief in scoring and rebounding with a median of 14.6 factors and eight.6 rebounds per recreation whereas capturing at 51.3 % from the sector.

Jones has shot at 50% from the sector and scored in double figures in all three playoff video games to this point, together with a double-double of 11 factors and 10 rebounds throughout Sport 3 towards Dallas. She discovered herself in early foul bother throughout that recreation however her staff has a handful of gamers who can step up. DeWanna Bonner led the staff with a 21-point efficiency, adopted by Alyssa Thomas’ 13 factors and eight rebounds. 

Sky: Candace Parker

Kahleah Copper has been a powerful offensive power for the Sky this season, however Candace Parker does not fall too far behind. There’s a purpose the 6-foot-4 ahead is without doubt one of the most recognizable names within the WNBA. The veteran appears to have the ability to register triple-doubles in her sleep. Her newest one occurred throughout Sport 3 towards the Liberty with 14 factors, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

Parker averaged 13.2 factors, 8.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, one steal and one block per recreation by way of the 2022 common season. The 2-time MVP is on full playoff mode now, averaging 14.3 factors, 11.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.7 blocks per recreation throughout the first spherical sequence towards the New York Liberty. 

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Three storylines/keys to the sequence

1. They’re each chasing large issues

Chicago is seeking to grow to be the primary staff to tug off back-to-back titles for the reason that Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02. Earlier than that, solely the Houston Comets had been capable of defend their title 1997-2000. In accordance with the WNBA, simply 5 defending champions have discovered their manner again to the championship recreation the season after profitable their trophy by way of the final 20 years: 2006 Sacramento Monarchs, 2007 Detroit Shock, 2012 Minnesota Lynx, 2016 Minnesota Lynx and 2017 Sparks. Let’s have a look at if the Sky can be a part of that listing. 

In the meantime, it is nearly stunning the Solar haven’t got a hoop but. They’ve the second highest profitable proportion within the WNBA the final 24 years at 55.8 %, solely the Sparks have a greater report in line with Basketball Reference. 

2. Sky swept the Solar however…

This may be deceptive as a result of three of the 4 common season video games Chicago gained have been determined by 4 factors or fewer. The biggest win for Chicago was an eight-point results of 91-83 on June 29. That one had the potential to grow to be a blowout as Chicago went on a 31-9 run within the first half and was up by as many as 23 factors. These first two quarters noticed some spectacular stats from the Sky, who went 20-for-24 from the sector, whereas the Suns went 12-for-40.

Chances are high that the Sky cannot shoot at 80 % or higher for a whole recreation, so it might be of their greatest curiosity to not let any double-digit leads slip away from them throughout this spherical as a result of the Solar have proven they do not get intimidated simply and will certainly battle for a comeback.

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3. Each have elite stats, however caring for the ball shall be essential

These two groups had the 2 greatest capturing percentages within the league throughout the common season, and each have been within the high three for factors per recreation, so it may very well be a enjoyable recreation offensively. Connecticut can be terrific at scoring off opponents’ errors. 

The Solar have been the very best staff at forcing turnovers this yr, as opponents averaged 16.4 turnovers per recreation towards them throughout the common season. They averaged a league-best 19.2 factors off turnovers by way of 36 video games. Which means that the Sky, who averaged 14.8 turnovers earlier than the playoffs, should watch out. Connecticut additionally led in steals with a median of 8.8 per recreation, with DiJonai Carrington averaging 2.0 steals per recreation. 

Prediction

The Sky have proven they’ll deal with no matter Connecticut throws at them as demonstrated by their 10-4 report over the Solar since 2020. The Solar undoubtedly have the capability to tug off an upset, however that looks as if a really troublesome job to perform. Decide: Sky in 5.