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WNBA Playoff Capsules

September 5, 2017

A look at the two first-round games in the WNBA playoffs, which start Wednesday:

No. 5 Phoenix (18-16) vs. No. 8 Seattle (15-19)

Season Series: Mercury, 2-1.

Phoenix: The Mercury have one of the best inside-outside combination in WNBA history with Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. Griner became the first true center to lead the league in scoring despite missing a few weeks dealing with an injured ankle and knee. She came back strong to help the Mercury get the five seed. Taurasi broke the WNBA career scoring record this season and still can put points on the board in a hurry. The Mercury changed their lineup for the last three games, inserting Leilani Mitchell and Yvonne Turner into the starting group and having Monique Currie and Danielle Robinson come off the bench. They went 3-0. The game will be played at Arizona State because the Mercury’s building is unavailable because of a Marvel Live concert.

Seattle: The Storm played 10 of their final 14 games post All-Star break on the road. They flew nearly 23,000 miles during that stretch. Seattle is hoping Jewell Loyd can continue the roll she has been on against the Mercury this season. She averaged 23.7 points while shooting 52 percent from the field in the three games. The Storm changed coaches late in the season and the team played better under Gary Kloppenburg, who replaced Jenny Boucek.

Prediction: Phoenix.

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No. 6 Washington (18-16) vs. No. 7 Dallas (17-19)

Season series: Wings, 2-1.

Washington: So much was expected of this team with the offseason acquisition of Elena Delle Donne and the signing of Kristi Toliver. Injuries hampered Delle Donne’s last month with a sprained ankle and a torn ligament in her thumb sidelining her. Couple that with injuries to Tayler Hill and Natasha Cloud and coach Mike Thibault’s team hasn’t been at full strength for a while. The Mystics haven’t had much of a chance to develop any court chemistry and it seems the team is still finding itself. Still with Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman leading the way as well as Toliver and Krystal Thomas, there is definitely enough talent for Washington to make a run.

Dallas: The Wings are one of the youngest and most athletic teams in the league. They are led by Skylar Diggins-Smith, who had a stellar season averaging 18.5 points and 5.8 assists. Dallas won’t be intimidated playing at the Mystics since the Wings went 2-0 in Washington this year. While the Mystics have been banged up most of the season, the Wings have been relatively healthy. The Wings played well down the stretch, falling to New York by a point in the regular-season finale.

Prediction: Dallas.

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