One number that can decide the fate of each WNBA playoff team

2021 WNBA trophy ceremony (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
2021 WNBA trophy ceremony (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

With the WNBA postseason getting underway tomorrow, now would be a good time to look at each of the eight teams through a statistical lens. Here is a number from the regular season for each team that is vital for playoff success or disappointment:

Las Vegas Aces: 90.4

The Aces lead the league in points scored per game with 90.4. They score 4.1 PPG more than the second highest scoring team and 9.3 PPG more than the Phoenix Mercury, their first round opponent. If Las Vegas can continue to score at this clip, there’s a very real chance they will be hoisting a trophy come September.

Chicago Sky: 24.3

Chicago can pass the ball, and the data proves it. With 24.3 assists per game, the team from the Windy City leads the league. But passing by itself doesn’t translate to assists. You need to make shots. No wonder the Sky also lead the league in field goal percentage (48.1%). If Chicago wants to be the first repeat champion in two decades, they’ll have to stay unafraid of passing the rock.

Connecticut Sun: 37.1

The Sun get boards. Their 37.1 rebounds per game are the most in the league. Oddly enough, they are the only team in the top three in RPG that are not watching the playoffs from home. The other two teams in the top three are the Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream. If Connecticut can establish their aggression on the glass early in games, they should have a deep postseason run on the way.

Seattle Storm: 36.1

We’ve all heard that “defense wins championships” but it seems like three-pointers do as well. In June, we saw the Steph Curry led Golden State Warriors win an NBA title because of their shooting from beyond the arc. Staying on the West Coast, the Storm are tied with the Aces for the best three-point percentage in the WNBA at 36.1%. Expect Seattle to continue to fire from long-range in hopes of having a Warriors-esque postseason.

Washington Mystics: 75.9

So the Aces score the most, but which team is best at not letting others score? That would be Washington. The 75.9 points they give up per contest is the lowest in the league and signifies an effective defense. The defense will certainly have to be at its best to stop Seattle’s shooting in the first-round. Washington vs. Seattle should be plenty of fun and is the most exciting series of the round.

Dallas Wings: 20.1

While no one is really taking Dallas seriously because Arike Ogunbowale will miss the first-round, the ability to get to the free-throw may give them a chance for an upset. Their 20.1 free-throw attempts per game are the most in the league. Free-throw shooting is crucial in the final moments of games, and the Wings shouldn’t be afraid to draw contact when the time comes. Unfortunately, the team right behind Dallas on the free-throw attempt leaderboard happens to be their first-round opponent, the Connecticut Sun (19.9).

New York Liberty: 27.6

The Liberty might not be the most accurate team from deep, but they do take the most threes. They attempt 27.6 per game, to be exact. With a daunting series against the Chicago Sky ahead, the Liberty will need to stick to their trigger-happy game plan. It might be their only shot at advancing.

Phoenix Mercury: 26.7

Like New York, the Mercury will want to shoot threes with volume. Their 26.7 three-point attempts a contest are the second most in the league. The Aces are gonna score on Phoenix and they’re probably going to build up some big leads, but what’s better than three-pointers when it comes to scoring in bunches in minimal time? It might get ugly for Phoenix, so Mercury fans are going to have to befriend the three-point line this postseason.