The WNBA regular season wrapped up Sunday evening and, consistent with the fast pace of this year’s schedule, the playoffs will tip off on Tuesday. The action will start with single elimination games for the first and second rounds, followed by best-of-five series for the semifinals and finals.
Here’s a preview of what to expect from former Huskies and their teams in the playoffs this week:
Seattle Storm (No. 2 seed)
Active former Huskies: Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck
With Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird out for Sunday’s game due to injuries, the Storm suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of the Las Vegas Aces and lost the #1 overall playoff seed in the process. This loss should have little effect on their title aspirations, however, as home court advantage is not nearly as important in the Wubble. Seattle is a favorite alongside Vegas to make the Finals and, assuming Stewart is healthy, probably the favorite to win it all. Time will be in Seattle’s favor for getting Stewart and Bird back on the court, as a top two seed earns them a bye in the first and second rounds. The Storm will not commence their playoff run until Sunday.
Minnesota Lynx (No. 4 seed)
Active former Huskies: Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield
Both Collier and Dangerfield have been instrumental to Minnesota securing a top-four seed and can be expected to have big roles down the stretch for the Lynx as well. While Collier has taken over the frontcourt in Sylvia Fowles’ absence, putting her in the Defensive Player of the Year and All-WNBA conversations, she should get some help with Minnesota expecting Fowles to return for the playoffs. The Lynx earned a bye for the first round and will start their playoff run on Thursday. If Tuesday’s games go as expected, they’ll find themselves in a winner-take-all game against Diana Taurasi’s Phoenix Mercury.
Phoenix Mercury (No. 5 seed)
Active former Huskies: Diana Taurasi
Playing short-handed due to injuries, Phoenix faces a tough playoff road. But the Mercury have Diana Taurasi, who tops the record books as the all-time leading scorer in the playoffs and is a ridiculous 13-1 in winner-take-all games during her WNBA career. Despite losing Brittney Griner and former Husky Bria Hartley, the Mercury enter the playoffs having won seven of their last nine and boast one of the best backcourts in the league with Taurasi and Skylar Diggins Smith. The Washington Mystics will have an uphill batter to get an edge over them Tuesday and, if they win, Phoenix will be a tough matchup for Minnesota on Thursday night.
Chicago Sky (No. 6 seed)
Active former Huskies: Stefanie Dolson, Gabby Williams
Chicago, which looked like a title contender early in the season, ended the season 1-4 and saw both Azura Stevens and Diamond DeShields bail on the bubble. Dolson has played limited minutes in the past few games, but Gabby William’s minutes have increased in DeShields and Stevens’ absence. Williams’ production with those increased minutes has varied, but the Sky will need her to bring a spark off the bench to have any hopes of advancing to next weekend. Chicago will play Connecticut on Tuesday, with a victory earning them a matchup with either Minnesota or Los Angeles on Thursday.
Connecticut Sun (No. 7 seed)
Active former Huskies: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
On the other half of Tuesday’s Connecticut-Chicago matchup is Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Mosqueda-Lewis’ role in Connecticut's playoff run will likely be more limited than that of Dolson and Williams, however, as she’s coming off a regular season where she averaged only 10 minutes of playing time per game. While Connecticut may hope to use her as a three-point threat to spread the floor, that threat is minimal as Mosqueda-Lewis is shooting just a little over 25 percent from deep this season.
UConn alumni will be active in both of Tuesday’s first-round games, which tip-off at 7:00pm and 9:00pm ET on ESPN2.