Lady Vols in the WNBA Update: Sept. 14

Lady Vols in the WNBA / Credit: UT Athletics

BRADENTON, Fla. — Three LVFLs, split between the league’s top three seeded teams, will be in action as the 2020 WNBA Playoffs get under way this week at the IMG Academy.

First-round match-ups will take place on Tuesday, followed by second-round contests on Thursday.  Each game of the postseason will be televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

The Los Angeles Sparks (15-7) are in the playoffs for the 12th time of the Candace Parker era, and the WNBA’s No. 3 seed is scheduled to play in a second-round contest at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday on ESPN2. Parker and the Sparks will face one of the winners from the first-round games between No. 7 Connecticut and No. 6 Chicago or No. 8 Washington and No. 5 Phoenix.

Cierra Burdick and the Las Vegas Aces (18-4) enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed and will face one of the second-round winners in the semifinal round on Sept. 20.

Mercedes Russell and the No. 2 seed Seattle Storm (18-4) begin their quest for the franchise’s fourth WNBA title on Sept. 20 in the semifinals as well, facing off against one of the victors from the second round.

Diamond DeShields’ Chicago Sky made the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, but the LVFL is not expected to be on the postseason roster after leaving the WNBA bubble on Aug. 29 for personal reasons. She had suffered what was reported to be a quadriceps injury in a game on Aug. 21 and was evaluated at a hospital. No further updates have been provided by the Sky.

The semifinals, which feature a best three-of-five format, will take place Sept. 20, 22 and 24, with “if necessary” games slated for Sept. 27 and 29.

The best three-of-five WNBA Finals tilts are set for Oct. 2, 4 and 6, with “if necessary” contests scheduled for Oct. 8 and 11.  If both semifinals series end in three or four games, the WNBA Finals may move up to Sept. 27 or 29, respectively.

The three other LVFLs in the league closed out their respective seasons over the weekend.

Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson, both members of the Atlanta Dream, finished the season with a 7-15 record. The Dream overcame a nine-game losing skid to win four of its last six contests, claiming fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Stricklen started in 15 games, averaging 6.1 ppg. and 1.9 rpg. Johnson saw action in 18 games, posting averages of 4.7 ppg. and 3.7 rpg. for the season.

Isabelle Harrison started in 11 games for Dallas before suffering a season-ending injury. She averaged 6.4 ppg. and 4.6 rpg. over 13 contests. The Wings finished with the ninth-best record in the league at 8-14.

Cierra Burdick

Las Vegas Aces | F | 4th Season

Having signed a contract with the Aces on July 31, Burdick has seen action in 13 games thus far, scoring in two appearances and grabbing a rebound in four.

Diamond DeShields

Chicago Sky | G | 3rd Season

DeShields averaged 6.8 ppg. and 1.5 apg. on the season before suffering an injury against New York on Aug. 20. She is not expected to be on Chicago’s postseason roster after leaving the WNBA bubble on Aug. 29 for personal reasons.

Isabelle Harrison

Dallas Wings | F/C | 4th Season

Harrison started in 11 games for Dallas before suffering a season-ending injury. She averaged 6.4 ppg. and 4.6 rpg. over 13 contests. The Wings finished with the ninth-best record in the league at 8-14.

Glory Johnson

Atlanta Dream | F | 8th Season

After missing the start of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test, Johnson appeared in 18 games for Atlanta, averaging 4.7 ppg. and 3.7 rpg. on the season. The Dream finished in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 7-15.

Candace Parker

Los Angeles Sparks | F/C | 13th Season

Parker is currently leading the league in rebounding, averaging 9.7 rpg. to go along with 14.7 ppg. and 4.6 apg. She is coming off a double-double effort against Las Vegas on Saturday, notching 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the Sparks’ 84-70 loss to the top-ranked Aces.

Mercedes Russell

Seattle Storm | C | 3rd Season

Russell has seen action in all 22 games for the Storm, starting in two. She’s averaging 3.5 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. on the season. Russell posted a season-high 10 points while adding six boards in 21 minutes of action in Seattle’s win over Phoenix on Friday.

Shekinna Stricklen

Atlanta Dream | G/F | 9th Season

Stricklen started in 15 games for Atlanta, averaging 6.1 ppg. and 1.9 rpg. The Dream finished in fourth place in the Eastern Conference

-UT Athletics

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