Who’s Winning the 2021 WNBA Championship?
The bracket for this year’s WNBA playoffs is set, with the New York Liberty coming up from tenth in the standings to secure the eighth and final seed on the last day of the regular season. The bracket looks like this:
The Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Sun have secured double-byes, meaning that they don’t have to face any win-or-go-home games due to their respective first and second seeds from the regular season. How will the rest affect them? Will last year’s champions, the Seattle Storm, be able to survive a single-elimination game? Can the Liberty, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2017, sneak past these powerhouse teams?
Without further ado, here are my WNBA 2021 Playoff predictions.
Round 1 Game 1: Dallas Wings vs Chicago Sky
I’ve got the Wings taking this one. They won two of their three games against the Sky this season, and their roster is so packed with young talent- it’s more Likely that Arike Ogunbowale will get hot than not. Combine that with Izzy Harrison and Marina Mabrey, it seems like the Wings have got this in the bag. Chicago is the higher seed, though! They’ve had a strong season, and it should be a close game. But I’ve got Dallas, all the way.
Dallas Wings vs Chicago Sky - ESPN2 at 8:00 pm EDT, September 23, 2021
Round 1 Game 2: New York Liberty vs Phoenix Mercury
It has to be the Mercury, right? Diana Taurasi’s going to be back to play for them, and she’s 14-3 in win-or-go-home games. The game is in Phoenix, so they have that too. It’s been a really good run for New York, but I think they’re finished after making the postseason. It won’t be a blowout by any means, but Phoenix has more experience both in playoffs and in general. The Liberty’s time will come, maybe sooner than we all think, but it won’t be this
NY Liberty vs Phoenix Mercury - ESPN2 at 9:00 pm EDT, September 23, 2021
Round 2 Game 1: Prediction: Phoenix Mercury vs Seattle Storm
Let me preface this: I absolutely hope with my whole heart that this game happens. The single elimination would be rough, but seeing two GOATs play each other on one singular night- whoever won, it’d be worth it. Especially with both of them- Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi- having retirement looming, it could be the last time we see them play each other. But the Storm have this in the bag. Personal biases aside, they beat Phoenix by nine last week, and they’re the reigning champions. It’ll be sad to see Phoenix go, but Seattle all
Round 2 Game 2: Prediction: Dallas Wings vs Minnesota Lynx
Minnesota’s got this in the bag. They’re so stacked! Collier, Clarendon, Fowles, McBride, the list goes on! They took the series 2-1 this season. Even statistically, third seed against the seventh seed. I think it comes down to experience again. Dallas is young, and again, their time will come! They’re on the rise now. Again, I think it’ll be close- it’s a really competitive league and the Wings have a really deep bench. But ultimately the four-time previous
champions, Minnesota Lynx, will take this game.
Semifinal 1: Prediction: Seattle Storm vs Connecticut Sun
I’ll use this as an opportunity to admit that I’m biased towards Seattle; they’re the team I support. Given that, I’ll say that I think this will be a close series. My gut would say Connecticut, because it’s almost hard to fathom how strong their team is. They’re the top team in the league right now. But the Storm are the defending champions, there’s no way they’ll go out without a fight. If (and it’s a big if) they get Breanna Stewart back from injury, she probably won’t be fully game-ready after the long injury. But the Storm beat the Sun in all three games this season. This could truly go either way, and if it’s the only one I get
wrong, I’ll be happy. Right now, I’ll say Seattle, 3-2. If they have Stewart, I’m more sure of that.
Semifinal 2: Prediction: Minnesota Lynx vs Las Vegas Aces
Aces, all the way. I mean, is there any way it doesn’t end up like that? They’re an absolute powerhouse of a team, they have the MVP, A’ja Wilson; their star has been rising for so long, no way they’re not making the final. As previously stated, Minnesota is still a really good team! They went 2-1 against the Aces this season, but the most recent game was two weeks ago and the Aces won it by 21 points. The Lynx have so many amazing players, but what does Las Vegas have? Even more amazing players. Aces, 3-1.
Final: Prediction: Seattle Storm vs Las Vegas Aces
Right back where we were last year. So many things have changed since October 6, 2020. New president, more vaccines, the best women’s basketball league in the world now has a real season involving traveling. October 6, 2020 was the day the Seattle Storm beat the Las Vegas Aces 92-59 to sweep the series 3-0. And if we’re lucky, we’ll get an encore. I think this one will end differently, though. It definitely won’t be so one-sided- whatever mistakes the
Aces made that amounted to their lackluster performance in the Finals last year won’t be made again. The one thing I’m sure about is that this series will be played out; 3-2 no matter which direction it’s on. Seattle’s been a hot-and-cold team all year, but when they get hot and people like Jewell Loyd (career-high 37 points in the Storm’s final regular-season game) start to light up, they’re unstoppable. The Aces have never been a three-point shooting
team, but they’ve arguably got the deepest bench in the league, including two-time Sixth Woman of the Year, Dearica Hamby. Las Vegas won two of the three games against Seattle this year, and I think they take this one too. I fully believe that the Storm will fight like hell until the end to defend the title. I won’t complain! But it’s too possible that they drop a game they should’ve won and ruin their own chances. Also, the Aces deserve this. This has finally been their season. Las Vegas, 3-2.
So, the Aces? That’s my final guess. The finals could truly go any way, though. I’ll stand by that. But I absolutely cannot wait to watch how it all actually unfolds!