The GIST - Special Edition: Let the games begin

They’re playing basketball ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
The GIST
#617 17.8.2022

Us again!

Today’s the day — pumpkin’s back the WNBA playoffs tip-off tonight at 8 p.m. ET. And you already know we’re celebrating the occasion with a special edition primer on the revamped postseason set-up, the matchups, the players to watch and more. Get hyped.

Share

Quote of the Day

Bring everybody. The mayor, the governor, president, House members, representatives…Everybody needs to come out…Everybody needs to be here.

— Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson, hilariously rattling off who she wants in the arena when her squad hosts the Phoenix Mercury tonight at 10 p.m. ET. You heard her, it’s time to show up.

A'ja Wilson putting on sunglasses
Source: WNBA/Giphy

🏀 The set-up

WNBA Playoff bracket
Source: SBNation.com

Unlike most other pro sports where postseason berths are decided by divisional or conference standings, eight of the W’s 12 teams (regardless of conference) qualified for the three-round playoffs.

  • The first round is best-of-three-games while the semifinals and finals — the latter of which begin September 11th — are best-of-five.

And yes, that best-of-three first round is new this year. For the past six seasons, the first two rounds were single-elimination, giving fans plenty of stress and not enough basketball. So the league (thankfully) made a change, transitioning from four rounds to three and ensuring each team will have at least two games to prove their postseason mettle.

  • Also new this year? No byes. While the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds previously advanced right to the semis and No. 3 and No. 4 had a bye to the second round, this year, every single squad will begin their journey in the first round. Fair is fair.

🃏 No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. 🪐 No. 8 Phoenix Mercury — Tonight at 10 p.m. ET

Forward Sam Thomas #14 of the Phoenix Mercury defends guard Chelsea Gray #12 of the Las Vegas Aces during the third quarter at Footprint Center on May 06, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Source: Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The matchup: To say the Commissioner's Cup–winning Aces have dominated the Mercury this season would be an understatement. Las Vegas swept their season matchups 3-0, winning each clash by 16.7 points on average. Sheesh.

  • Lucky for Phoenix fans, all of those routs happened way back in May, but the top-seeded Aces are still the clear favorites heading into this rematch of last year’s thrilling semis.

Players to watch: For Las Vegas, it’s the dynamic duo of the aforementioned A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum, who made history this year as the first teammates to each score over 700 points in a season.

  • Averaging 19.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, 2020 league MVP Wilson is a top contender to nab the honors again this year, while 2022 All-Star Game MVP Plum leads the team in scoring with 20.2 points per night. Somebody get this girl a bigger trophy.
  • As for the Mercury, it’s more about who won’t be on the court. Brittney Griner is still wrongfully detained in Russia, and Diana Taurasi (quad strain) and Skylar Diggins-Smith (personal reasons) will also miss tonight’s matchup.

    Keys to success: After winning a franchise-record 26 regular-season games, the Aces simply need to stay the course. With first-year head coach (and former W star) Becky Hammon drawing up the plays, it’s all about trusting what’s gotten them this far.

  • On the flip side, Phoenix will be leaning into the underdog narrative. As their coach Vanessa Nygaard said, “The pressure’s not on us.” Qualifying for the postseason was already impressive — maybe the Mercury can stay hot and make this a series.

✨ No. 2 Chicago Sky vs. 🗽 No. 7 NY Liberty — Tonight at 8 p.m. ET

Chicago Sky forward/center Candace Parker (3) shoots the ball over in action during a WNBA game between the New York Liberty and Chicago Sky on May 11, 2022, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL.
Source: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The matchup: With the exception of a blowout Sky win back in May, things have been close when these squads face off — Chicago owns the 3-1 edge, but their last three games were decided by eight points or less. Book your manicure for after this series.

Players to watch: The Sky are, in a word, stacked, retaining most of their 2021 title-winning squad, including All-Stars Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot and last year’s finals MVP, Kahleah Copper.

  • For the Libs, the offense runs through Sabrina “Triple-Double” Ionescu (pronounced yo-NESS-coo), who’s averaging 17.4 points per game.
  • NY will also benefit from the late-season return of Betnijah Laney (pronounced buh-NIGH-yuh), a sharpshooter who missed all but nine games with a knee injury but is back just in time for the playoffs.

Keys to success: While the perimeter battle between Vandersloot and Ionescu will be one for the ages, this series could come down to which squad can prevail in the paint. The Sky boast a tough one-two punch in Parker and Emma Meesseman, so the Liberty will need their bigs, Natasha Howard and former ChiTown star Stef Dolson, to slow them down. Game on.

#togetherwith

🏀 Gearing up for battle

Source: Under Armour

The GIST: Down-to-the-wire action, must-win games, buzzer-beater moments — the playoff pressure’s no joke. Luckily, our pals at Under Armour (UA) are helping us gear up for all the postseason nail-biters (and fun!) ahead.

The mantra: UA’s slogan — “The only way is through” — is the perfect rallying cry for the squads seeking that elusive WNBA championship trophy. With no byes and an expanded first round series, this year’s run will be an especially tough gauntlet.

The commitment: From their Access to Sport initiative to their name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with future WNBA star Aliyah Boston, UA’s always been about growing the women’s game. And now they’re helping to power our coverage all playoffs long. Truly ballin’.

☀️ No. 3 Connecticut Sun vs. 🕊️ No. 6 Dallas Wings — Tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET

Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones (35) drives past Dallas Wings center Awak Kuier (28) during a WNBA game between Dallas Wings and Connecticut Sun on May 24, 2022, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
Source: M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The matchup: The Sun may be the higher-ranked squad, but the Wings actually won the regular season head-to-head, taking two out of their three contests. Adding to the intrigue, both squads have been red-hot leading up the playoffs — Connecticut went 8-2 over their last 10 games, while Dallas posted a 7-3 record in that span. Caliente.

Players to watch: The Sun’s quest to capture their elusive first ’ship will depend largely on reigning league MVP Jonquel Jones, who leads the team with an average of 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. But Connecticut’s starpower doesn’t stop there — last year’s Most Improved Player, Brionna Jones, just keeps getting better and provides a huge spark off the bench.

  • For Dallas, the biggest question will be who steps up in the absence of their leading scorer, Arike Ogunbowale (pronounced ah-REE-kay oh-GOON-boh-WAH-lay), who will miss at least the first round after undergoing abdominal surgery earlier this month.
  • Ogunbowale’s known for her Mamba Mentality, but her former Notre Dame teammate Marina Mabrey’s stepped up to fill the void, notably dropping a career-high 31 points in Dallas’ playoff-clinching win last week. Talk about clutch.

Keys to success: The Wings are still a young squad with limited playoff experience, something Connecticut will look to capitalize on, especially as they lead the league in steals and points off turnovers per game. But if Dallas can keep it clean, this series could go the distance.

⛈️ No. 4 Seattle Storm vs. 🪄 No. 5 Washington Mystics — Tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET

Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud handles the ball against Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) during the first quarter of a WNBA basketball game.
Source: Terrance Williams for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The matchup: The W saved the best for last with this 2018 Finals rematch, a clash between two squads who’ve combined to win three of the last four titles. The Storm and Mystics posted identical 22-14 records this season, but Seattle eked out home-court advantage by winning two of their three meetings.

Players to watch: This series notably boasts two former league MVPs — Seattle’s Breanna Stewart, who led the league in scoring with 21.8 points per night, and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne (EDD).

  • EDD played limited games as she continues to recover from a back injury, but she didn’t miss a beat against Seattle, posting an average of 19.7 points. Big-time players making big-time plays.
  • Speaking of, we’d be remiss not to mention the GOAT, Sue Bird. As we know (and refuse to acknowledge), this will be the W’s all-time assist leader’s final playoff run. Expect an exclamation point to cap off an incredible career.

Keys to success: With Bird running the offense, the Storm play at a quick pace, scoring 12 points per game off the fast break (second-highest in the league). But that style of play meets an elite Washington defense that likes to slow things down. If the Mystics can control the tempo, they might just find some magic.

📺 How to tune in

A detailed view of the WNBA logo prior to the game between the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty at Barclays Center on July 12, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Las Vegas Aces defeated the New York Liberty 107-101.
Source: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

As mentioned, the action begins with the Sky vs. the Liberty tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in the U.S. and on Sportsnet 360 in Canada, followed by the 10 p.m. ET clash between the Aces and Mercury on ESPN.

  • Check out the full postseason schedule here, and let the games begin!

#togetherwith

Under Armour logo

All of this postseason hype inspiring you to hit the court? Same. But before you start sinking threes, treat yourself to some new threads from UA’s full women’s hoop collection. Look good, play good, right?

The GIST's Picks

❤️ Who’s (still) top of mind:

Brittney Griner (BG), who remains wrongfully detained in Russia. BG’s lawyers appealed her nine-year sentence on Monday, an expected step as negotiations for her release continue. Say it loud then say it again — free BG.

🔥 What to wear:

These fire Curry Flow 9 kicks, just one of many showstoppers in UA’s roster of women’s basketball products. Make like your fave hoops stars and put the competition to bed with these sneaks.*

🍽️ What to snack on:

Some A’ja Wilson chips. The 2020 MVP recently signed on as the first-ever female athlete ambassador for Ruffles and launched her own signature Smoky BBQ flavor of their Ridge Twists. The perfect addition to your playoff watch party spread.

🎧 What to listen to:

For even more on the playoffs, yesterday’s (200th!) episode of The GIST of It. Ellen Hyslop and guest host Lauren Tuiskula break down each matchup and offer their predictions as to which squad will win it all. Charge up those headphones.

*P.S. This is a sponsored post. Get your game on. 

Share The GIST, Win Free Stuff

We know (okay hope) you love The GIST and want to share it with all of the people in your life. And, we want to reward you for it. Here’s how to share:

Step 1: Check out the sweet GIST rewards here

Step 2: Click the "Share The GIST" button below (or use your unique referral link below) to share

Step 3: Share The GIST with people like your friends, co-workers and family

Step 4: Join the community, get hooked up with swag, and repeat

GIST referral gif
Subscribe

Your Unique Referral Code Is
https://thegistsports.com/subscribe?referralCode=2iOT19L&refSource=copy

Older messages

The ultimate slam dunk

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Get your popcorn ready ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

The audacity

Monday, August 15, 2022

Sorry doesn't cut it ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Sunday Scroll: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Play ball ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

What does the GOAT say?

Friday, August 12, 2022

We love mess ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Sunday Scroll: Get your game on, go play

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Everything you need to know about the WNBA All-Star game ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🔴 LFC Legends 🆚 Man United LIVE!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

⚽ Team sheets + match updates from Anfield Read in browser LFC News LFC Transfers Podcasts | Sign In Liverpool vs Man Utd Legends LIVE! Rolling coverage as Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia, Martin Skrtel and

🖊 Contract talks 'open' with £52m midfielder

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Deal discussed as Reds plot Bellingham bid Read in browser LFC News LFC Transfers Podcasts | Sign In Liverpool 'open contract talks' with £52m midfielder Midfield has been a key area of concern

🔴🔴 Liverpool transfer 'bewitched' Gerrard but angry outburst led to brutal response

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Liverpool Latest LFC

🔴🔴 Pundit gives 'difficult' verdict in TAA England debate

Friday, September 23, 2022

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Rio Ferdin Latest LFC

🔴🔴 Andy Robertson makes admission over only club that could tempt him to leave Liverpool

Friday, September 23, 2022

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Robertson Latest LFC

Happy fall, y’all

Friday, September 23, 2022

Need we say more? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🔴🔴 Virgil van Dijk gives honest verdict on form | How much Mohamed Salah earns

Friday, September 23, 2022

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Van Dijk g Latest LFC

Cheaters Never Prosper ❌

Friday, September 23, 2022

Ime Udoka suspended for the entire season due to an affair with a female staff member. Pittsburgh's struggles continue on Thursday Night Football. Team USA dominates day 1 of the Presidents Cup.

Be careful what you wish for

Friday, September 23, 2022

Should the regents be allowed to block a conference realignment move? Well...maybe? It depends on who those regents end up being... Extra Points Be careful what you wish for By Extra Points – 23 Sep

🔴🔴 Jurgen Klopp can unleash 'best' Liverpool midfield with new partner for Thiago and Fabinho

Friday, September 23, 2022

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Liverpool Latest LFC