The 2020 WNBA season has been an interesting one. Like the NBA, all the teams played in one stadium. There were no home-court advantages, no fans, and fewer games. This was the first season in years that I religiously watched Seattle play. I followed Breanna Stewart during her time at UConn and had to watch her in the pros. I stopped watching WNBA games after she tore her Achilles while playing professional club basketball in Russia. She proved that a season off to focus on her physical health helped her become a better player.
Seattle Storm won this year’s WNBA championship over the Las Vegas Aces. The tournament was played at the IMG Academy “bubble” stadium in Florida Oct. 2-6. This was Seattle’s fourth championship win since her last win in 2018. Breanna Stewart was crowned the MVP award for the tournament for her outstanding performance during those games.
During the WNBA finals, Stewart was the leading scorer in the final three games against Las Vegas. In the first game, Stewart dropped 37 points and 15 rebounds alone. In the second game, she had 22 points and dropped 26 during the winning game. Bird led the team in assists in each of the final games. Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd led with assists in the second and third games. Loyd was behind Stewart in points in the final game and scored 19.
For the Las Vegas Aces, A’ja Wilson led in the second and third games for points. She scored 20 points in game two and 18 in the third game. Carolyn Swords and Angel McCoughtry led the team in rebounds. Four Aces led in assists. In the first finals game, Kayla McBride and Jackie Young dished out four assists. Danielle Robinson earned 10 assists in the second game and Wilson earned four.
The season was shortened dramatically. The league planned to make an all-time high, 36-six game regular-season. Seattle ended up with an 18-4 winning record and was ranked second for the season behind the Aces. This season, Seattle sailed over their WBNA counterparts in both offensive and defensive efficiency. There was no doubt that they were the best team this season.
Seattle Storm has been a successful team since the team was founded in 2000. The first season was rough with a 6-26 record for their WNBA debut. University of Connecticut star Sue Bird was the 2002 first-round draft pick that year, and Seattle snatched her talent. That year, Seattle made the playoffs for the first time. In 2004, the team finally posted a winning record of 20-14 and sailed their way to their first championship win.
Seattle Storm has won all their WNBA championships during the same season they won their conference titles. They first became victorious in 2004, again in 2010 and 2018. Since their win in 2018, Seattle was down both Stewart and Bird due to on-going injuries. Seattle dropped from its first-place ranking to fifth during the 2019 season with an 18-16 record. They lost the conference semifinals to the Los Angeles Sparks.
The WNBA is full of superstar players. Seattle and Las Vegas have had their fair share of number one draft picks, NCAA Champions, and international talent. Breanna Stewart fell short to A’ja Wilson for the WNBA seasonal MVP.
Stewart became a four-time NCAA Champion and four-time NCAA Most Outstanding Player during her collegiate career at the University of Connecticut. She stands at 6’4 with a 7’1 wingspan. Starting in 2016, she has become an Olympic gold medalist, the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year, two-time WNBA All-Star, and 2018 WNBA MVP. This year, she adds on a second WNBA championship and finals MVP to her growing list of accomplishments.
Morgan Tuck, the third former UConn Huskie for Seattle, played alongside Stewart. She did not get a lot of playing time during the 2020 season and had a career-low of 17 points. Tuck was traded at the beginning of the season after four seasons with Connecticut Sun.
The Aces have their own superstar bench. McBride has been a three-time WNBA All-Star and WNBA All-Time Rookie during her six seasons with the Aces. McBride played her collegiate career for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Wilson, a former South Carolina Gamecock, has earned time WNBA All-Star awards, was the 2018 WNBA Rookie of Year, an NCAA champion in 2017, and won the 2017 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award.
The Aces have not won a WNBA championship since their franchise began in 1997. They were first known as the Utah Stars until 2002 and started the 2003 season as the San Antonio Silver Stars until 2013. Before becoming the Las Vegas Aces, the franchise was the San Antonio Stars from 2014-2017. The Aces have won two conference titles, this year’s being the second. They last won a title in 2008.