The 2019 WNBA Playoffs kicked off on Wednesday night with a pair of opening-round playoff games.
To start the playoff doubleheader on ESPN2, No. 5 Chicago Sky cruised past No. 8 Phoenix Mercury in the first game in Chicago, with No. 6 Seattle Storm beating No. 7 Minnesota Lynx in the second game of the single-elimination round in Everett, Wash.
With the Sky and the Storm advancing to the second round of the playoffs, they will move on to take part in another single-elimination game on Sunday evening in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Let’s take a look back at the two opening round games in this edition of the WNBA Playoff Roundup:
No. 5 Chicago Sky 105, No. 8 Phoenix Mercury 76
The fifth-seeded Chicago Sky kicked off the WNBA Playoffs on Wednesday night with a blowout victory over the eighth-seeded Phoenix Mercury in Chicago.
With the win, the Sky advance to the second round of the postseason where they will face the fourth-seeded Las Vegas Aces in a single-elimination game at 4 p.m. CT in Las Vegas.
Chicago opened up the first-round game against Phoenix by holding a 44-41 advantage heading into halftime.
The Mercury, who were already without Diana Taurasi in the game, took another big hit early on in the second quarter before the break when Brittney Griner went down with a knee injury that forced her out for the remainder of the half. She returned in the second half, but wasn’t much of a factor the rest of the contest.
To begin the second half, the Sky broke the game open in the third quarter and never let up. Chicago outscored Phoenix 29-19 in the third quarter and 32-16 in the fourth quarter to win by 29.
Diamond DeShields put on a show with 25 points and four rebounds to lead Chicago. Astou Ndour and Stefanie Dolson had 16 points each, Allie Quigley had 15 points and six assists, Cheyenne Parker had 11 points and Courtney Vandersloot finished with nine points and 11 assists for the Sky.
The Mercury, who entered the game 6-0 in single-elimination games, were led by DeWanna Bonner with 21 points and six rebounds. Briann January added 12 points and Camille Little added 10 points and five rebounds off the bench for Phoenix in the season-ending loss.
No. 6 Seattle Storm 84, No. 7 Minnesota Lynx 74
The sixth-seeded Seattle Storm rounded out the postseason doubleheader on ESPN2 on Wednesday night with a win over the seventh-seeded Minnesota Lynx in Everett, Washington.
With the win, the Storm will advance to the second round of the postseason where they will face the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks in another single-elimination game at 2 p.m. CT in Los Angeles.
At Angel of the Winds Arena, Seattle controlled the pace of the game against Minnesota from basically the opening wistle, jumping out to an eight-point lead after the first quarter while ending up carrying a 47-41 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, the Lynx attempted to make a late comeback behind rookie Napheesa Collier’s impressive third quarter and eventual double-double performance, narrowing the game from 14 points at one point down to just three in the third.
The defending champions Storm, however, were ultimately able to hold off the Lynx and send Minnesota home in the opening round of the postseason for the second year in a row.
For Seattle, its backcourt pairing of Jordin Canada and Jewell Loyd did it all in the contest, with Canada grabbing a new career-high of 26 points and four assists while Loyd added 22 points and three steals. The duo of Canada and Loyd out-matched Minnesota’s starting backcourt of Odyssey Sims and Danielle Robinson, outscoring them 48-1 in the game.
Collier led Minnesota with a nice all-around performance consisting of 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Damiris Dantas added 20 points and six rebounds, Sylvia Fowles had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Seimone Augustus finished with six points off the bench in what could potentially have been the final game of her career with the Lynx.
The second round of the playoffs are set to begin at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday and the postseason doubleheader will once again be aired on ESPN2.
Updated Playoff Picture
With the second-round games officially set for Sunday evening, here’s a look at the updated playoff bracket heading into the second single-elimination round:
Below is a breakdown of the two second-round single-elimination contests, which will take place on Sunday in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The winner of the games will advance to take on either No. 1 Washington or No. 2 Connecticut in the best-of-five semifinals series.
SECOND ROUND (single-elimination games):
No. 6 Seattle Storm at No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks, 2 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
No. 5 Chicago Sky at No. 4 Las Vegas Aces, 4 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
To view the updated playoff bracket and matchups, click here.