Finals Check-In: Can Vegas bounce back or will Seattle sweep?

The Seattle Storm have dominated the first two games of the 2020 WNBA Finals and have a chance to win their fourth championship on Tuesday night. Since 2005, no team has ever lost in the Finals after winning the first two games. However, Las Vegas still has a chance to bounce back and force a longer series. 

What will it take for Seattle to sweep? Can Vegas still come back and win their first title in franchise history? Let’s examine.

How Seattle Can Clinch 

Continue to Highlight Supporting Players

There are multiple weapons on Seattle’s bench that they can use on both ends of the court. This has and will continue to be the key to the Storm sweeping this series and holding the Finals trophy tomorrow night.

In Game One, three Storm players recorded double digits to even the scoring attack and win by 13, 93-80. Breanna Stewart led the team with 37 points and 15 rebounds, while Jewell Loyd contributed 28 points. Epiphanny Prince tallied 11 points off the bench. Sue Bird only had two points in the game but finished with a WNBA-playoff record 16 assists. 

Five Seattle players scored double digits to capture Game Two Sunday afternoon in a 104-91 win. Stewart once again led Seattle with 22 points, Alysha Clark and Natasha Howard contributed 21 points each, Bird tallied 16 points, and Jordin Canada added 10 points off the bench. As a team, Seattle shot 57.1 percent from the field and 46.2 from three. 

Seattle isn’t just good at one thing; they are good at everything. That is why they have been Finals favorites all season long. If one player is being targeted or is tired, three other players can step in for them. In five playoff games, seven Storm players are shooting over 45 percent and all five starters are averaging double-digit points. 

Seattle can clinch their fourth franchise title by not building their game plan around one player like Stewart, but by creating plays where Bird, Loyd, Clark, can thrive.

Continue to Force Vegas to Shoot Three-Pointers

Las Vegas is known for not shooting three-pointers. They see it as a strength, while Seattle made it their mission to make it a weakness. 

The Storm are making the Aces shoot threes in this series. During the regular season, the Aces ranked last in the league in three-point attempts per game with 11.5. In the first two Finals games, Vegas attempted 19 and 21 three-pointers, respectively. 

Seattle needs to keep making Vegas uncomfortable and force them to change their season-long game plan, keeping them off the free throw line and looks directly at the rim. There truly aren’t any great long-distance shooters on this Aces roster besides Kayla McBride, who isn’t having the best year herself. McBride is shooting just 34.2 percent from behind the arc this season, compared to 42.8 and 39.3 in the last two seasons. Making Vegas uncomfortable and adjusting could capture a Seattle championship Tuesday night.

How Vegas Can Force More Games

Execute. Execute. Execute. 

Creating a great game plan may win you games in the regular season, but it will only get you so far in the Finals. When you are down two games in the championship, you need not only to be prepared but to execute. 

Vegas needs to start finishing plays and better defend Seattle. There have been multiple times where Vegas has set up a nice play to score a bucket or block a Seattle shot but just has not executed. It is more than just being on top of what the opponent is doing, you have to start stopping them. You cannot let this Seattle team keep going up and down the court making the plays. You will never win.

You have an MVP. Use her!

In Justin Carter’s ‘How The Aces Can Win The Finals Without Dearica Hamby’, he talked about how an Aces championship runs through A’ja Wilson. Wilson has had an okay performance so far in the Finals: 19 pts & six rbs in Game One (6-20) and 20 pts & seven rbs (8-17) in Game Two. 

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Seattle is focusing their game plan heavily on her, preventing Wilson from having the big Finals performance that Stewart and Bird are having on the other bench. 

If Vegas wants a real chance at the title, Wilson will need to power through anyway and start tallying those double-doubles and recording-breaking scoring.

Wilson is the MVP and needs to touch the ball every single play. When she is controlling her team, Wilson becomes a near-unstoppable playmaker.

Do not give up.

Vegas faced similar circumstances in the semifinals and came out on top, as they faced elimination in Game Four against Connecticut but then beat them in five. However, the Storm are a much better team than the Sun. 

The Aces have stayed in both games, allowing one big Storm run during the game and being unable to recover from it. They have to remember that the season isn’t over until it is over. Stay competitive and stay hungry. It is still anyone’s game.

Vegas still has fight left in them. They have now played four games against Seattle this season. The fifth match-up could end the season, or it can be one of the best games in Finals history. All I know is, both teams will be ready Tuesday at 7 PM ET on ESPN.

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