WNBA League Pass Alert: Must-Watch Games (July 17-22)

A preview of WNBA games to watch for the week of July 17-22, 2018.

Disclaimer: All stats are courtesy of the official WNBA site. Viewing options are valid at the time of publication; check for updated information on game days. Opinions are solely those of the author. Get WNBA League Pass for only $16.99 for the entire season. Don’t @ me.

With the playoff race in full swing, the WNBA is heading into key matchup territory as teams jockey for the best playoff positioning possible (or, are just trying to make the playoffs). The Holy Grail is the top two teams in the league, as those teams get a double-bye and don't have to play until the semifinals -- which means avoiding the dreaded one-and-done, knockout elimination games in the first and second rounds.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Atlanta Dream at Connecticut Sun

7:00 pm ET
League Pass, NBCSB (local)

The Atlanta Dream (12-9) have been on fire for the past few games and moving up in the league rankings. The Connecticut Sun (12-10) seem to be back on track since the return of Alyssa Thomas and the midseason addition of Layshia Clarendon (and a second-round pick) via trade--ironically, with Atlanta (who got Alex Bentley). The awkwardness alone would make for interesting television, but either two talented and scrappy teams are worth watching; together, it will be riveting, especially since Atlanta has beaten Connecticut in their previous two meetings. Save the date!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

New York Liberty at Atlanta Dream

7:00 pm ET
ESPN3, MSG+ (local)

The Liberty began the week on a two-game winning streak and will be visiting the Atlanta Dream for the second time this season. While it is safe to say that the odds of this game are in Atlanta’s favor, it’s always fun to see Tina Charles battle with Angel McCoughtry (or, for matchup purposes, the red-hot Jessica Breland). It's also interesting to see Husky on Husky in Uconn alumnae Charles and rookie Kia Nurse (for New York) versus Atlanta's Tiffany Hayes. New York won the last game against Atlanta, so some payback is in order for the Dream.

Washington Mystics at Dallas Wings

8:00 pm ET
ESPN2

The Mystics (13-9) will be meeting the Wings (12-9) for the first of three games this season. Both teams are fairly matched, talent-wise; how that talent is distributed on each team will make for a good game. Dallas has the speed (Skylar Diggins-Smith), the length (rookie Azurá Stevens), the muscle (Kayla Thornton) and the hustle (Glory Johnson and Aerial Powers), plus supreme rim protector Liz Cambage and bench sparks Cayla George and Kaela Davis. Washington has the sharpshooters (Kristi Toliver, rookie Ariel Atkins), the do-it-all Swiss Army knife (Elena Delle Donne), and a multipurpose bench mob that includes rookie Myisha Hines-Allen, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, and Monique Currie. Fun times.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Seattle Storm at Connecticut Sun

7:00 pm ET
League Pass, NBA TV, NBCSB (local)

The Seattle Storm (16-6) are currently the top-ranked team in the league and will be playing the second game of their five-game road trip. The Sun is still trying to make deeper inroads into the playoff picture (at the time of publication of this article, they were tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Minnesota Lynx). Breanna Stewart is quickly becoming the new face of Storm (no disrespect to franchise stalwart Sue Bird) and currently leads the league in scoring. The Storm has won its previous two meetings against the Sun, but both those games saw Connecticut without Alyssa Thomas. Connecticut could steal this game, especially if gets Stewart into foul trouble, contains Jewell Loyd, and the Sun’s Courtney Williams goes off again.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Minnesota Lynx at Phoenix Mercury

10:00 pm ET
League Pass

The Minnesota Lynx and the Phoenix Mercury will meet for the third and final time this season. So far, they have split their previous two games with one win each. The Mercury have been weakened by the loss of defensive ace Sancho Lyttle for the season with a torn ACL. The Lynx have been underperforming this season, so who knows which version will show up to this game: the defending league champions, or the discombobulated crew that has dropped winnable games (Indiana Fever, anyone?).  Still, these are two of the quality teams in the league (Phoenix started the week ranked number 2), so a match between them is always something to see.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Seattle Storm at Atlanta Dream

3:00 pm ET
League Pass, NBA TV, FSSE-ATL (local)

Seattle and Atlanta will meet for the third and final time this season. They have split their previous contests and have won on the other team’s home court. The Dream may be one of the few teams in the league that can solve the problem of the Storm’s Breanna Stewart (even if it means hair pulling). Atlanta’s Elizabeth Williams will need to bring her A+ game against Seattle’s Natasha Howard, and plans need to be made for bench spark Courtney Paris. Containing Jewell Loyd is another must, and one can never count out Sue Bird (though it can be done). If Jessica Breland and Brittney Sykes continue their high level of play for Atlanta, it could be a long day for the Storm.

Connecticut Sun at Dallas Wings

4:00 pm ET
League Pass, FSSW+ (local), WCCT (local)

The Sun and the Wings will meet for the first of three games this season. Both teams are capable of getting hot and scoring in bunches; both teams are capable of letting games slip away if it’s not all hands on deck. Dallas relies heavily on team touchstone Skylar Diggins-Smith, and we’ve seen that Connecticut doesn’t do well if Alyssa Thomas is not available; still, containing either of these players is difficult. Both teams also have length and talented rookies who were first-round draft picks, but the Sun have the edge in three-point shooting thanks to Shekinna Stricklen and Jonquel Jones, and recent addition Layshia Clarendon has been fitting in nicely and can help provide additional leadership for the Sun. X-factors Rachel Banham (Sun) and Aerial Powers (Wings) could tilt the game either way, and Connecticut could pull out a win if they get Liz Cambage frustrated and into foul trouble.

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