The 2018 WNBA Finals between the Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics begin Friday with Game 1 from KeyArena in Seattle. On this episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast, host Ben Dull is joined by Lindsay Gibbs and Joseph Zucker to preview the Finals and discuss the keys to the series for both teams.
The Storm defeated the Phoenix Mercury at home in Game 5 of their semifinal series on the backs of a stellar shooting performance by Sue Bird. The Mystics went on the road to defeat the Atlanta Dream in the decisive Game 5 of their semifinal series.
Elena Delle Donne went down with a knee injury in Game 2 of the Atlanta series and missed all of Game 3. The Dream won both games to take a 2-1 lead. But Delle Donne returned to the starting lineup for the final two games of the series as the Mystics punched their ticket to the Finals. And Kristi Toliver got rolling for Washington late in the series, shooting 16-of-29 (7-of-19 on 3-pointers) in the final two games of the semifinals after shooting 25 percent from the field in the first three games.
Bird shot the lights out in the fourth quarter, canning four threes in the period to seal Seattle’s Game 5 victory after leaving Game 4 with a broken nose. League MVP Breanna Stewart was stellar as well, playing all 40 minutes and finishing with 28 points (11-of-21 shooting), seven rebounds and no turnovers. All-Star guard Jewell Loyd played just 20 minutes in Game 5 as Sami Whitcomb closed the game in her stead. Whitcomb emerged to contribute off the bench after not playing at all in the first two games of the semifinals.
The Finals tip Friday on ESPNews at 9 PM ET.