No, the WNBA Regular Phase is not over yet: it will only conclude on September 19 to make way for the Playoffs that will begin on Thursday 23. However, tonight we will be able to witness a duel that looks a lot like a final. Phoenix Mercury will host the Connecticut Sun in a clash of two teams going through the best moment of the season: they arrive with 10 and 11 consecutive victories in their respective accounts.
There will be some absences: Phoenix will continue to give Diana Taurasi rest to prevent a discomfort that the league legend has in his left ankle, while Alanna Smith is still out due to health and safety protocol. Yes indeed, Brittney Griner is expected to return. In Connecticut Sun will say present all the team that has led them to lead the classification this season, while they are excited that Alyssa Thomas can make her debut when the postseason arrives.
The loss of Taurasi is the only thing that takes a bit of Playoff climate out of this duel that he has many things at stake for both teams from the symbolic to the historical and strictly sporting. It is about defending this streak in which neither team knows defeat since the restart of the Regular Phase (Phoenix has not fallen since July 11 when it lost to Seattle Storm, Connecticut has not done it since July 3 in the Regular Phase and from August 12 if we take into account the final of the Commissioner’s Cup against Seattle). In the league’s 25-year history, this is only the second time that two teams have met with an active streak of 10 wins or more.
In the standings, a big step is at stake to secure the first place in the case of Connecticut: they have a record of 23-6 with three games to play and Las Vegas Aces follows with 21-8, the only team that can reach it. They just need one more win for the Sun to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason.. Playing at home has been key for them throughout 2021 – they are 12-1 there.
Phoenix is played even more: it is in a fight without quarter with Seattle Storm (who won’t have Breanna Stewart in her last two games) and Minnesota Lynx for finishing in the top 4 and advance directly to the second round of the Playoffs. Seattle is 20-10 and Phoenix and Minnesota are 19-10. Everyone can still dream of reaching Las Vegas to reach the semifinals directly, although that already depends on the fall of Nevada.
Phoenix is also missing the Storm and Aces, so he can afford a major illusion. Yes indeed, nine of his 10 post-break wins have been against negative-record teams so this Saturday’s game is the great chance to show what they are really worth. “Any game can be a difficult game in this league. We have had even duels against Indiana and Atlanta, you cannot underestimate anyone. Our main objective is to win and if we continue to win we will put ourselves in a good position for the Playoffs. It is something very motivating for us, we want to keep it “stated Brianna Turner, Alera of the Mercury.
10 plays from a 10 game win streak. 🔥
Be there tomorrow as the Mercury looks to make it 11!
– Phoenix Mercury – X (@PhoenixMercury) September 11, 2021
More | Breanna Stewart will miss the final of the WNBA Regular Phase with a left foot injury
History is also at stake, we said, at least for Connecticut. Those led by Curt Miller have 11 wins in a row and with that number they are just one win away from matching the best record in franchise history, which are the 12 wins obtained between July 16 and August 9, 2006 by a team that finished the Regular Phase with a 26-8 record but ended up eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals in the Playoffs.
What’s not at stake is the best winning streak in WNBA history. The Los Angeles Sparks’ 18 consecutive victories in the 2001 season will not be achieved, nor will the 16 victories that Phoenix Mercury scored in the 2014 season., since in the best of cases the Arizona team will finish this season with 13 wins in a row and Connecticut at most could conclude with 14 wins, also falling behind the 15 games in a row the Houston Comets won in 1998.
Both Houston in 1998, Los Angeles in 2001 and Phoenix in 2014 were champions, the last two sweeping the Finals. For Phoenix and Connecticut, beyond its great current situation, that panorama still does not seem very clear in some Playoffs that aim to be really exciting: Seattle, Las Vegas and Minnesota also have material to be champions and we must also pay attention to Chicago Sky .
In addition, this day also presents another duel with important implications: Dallas Wings will secure a playoff spot if they beat New York Liberty at home.
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Phoenix Mercury vs. Connecticut Sun: Teams Duel on a Streak at WNBA | NBA.com Spain