This You Gotta See: Aces higher entering WNBA playoffs, but defending champion Sky have no limit
First up: Sky-Liberty in a best-of-three series in the first round.
Maybe it was just another double-digit scoring run — nothing that special — in a season full of them. Or maybe it was a declaration. Either way, the Aces hit the Storm with a 10-point blitz to end the first half of the regular-season finale Sunday down only one, took care of business from there and swiped the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs from the defending champion Sky in the process.
Both teams finished 26-10, but the Aces won the head-to-head tiebreaker. And not only that, but they enter the playoffs on a 9-2 roll that included a pair of convincing victories against the Sky and established them as the favorites — sorry, Chicago — to have a confetti dance party in a little less than five weeks.
One year after the Sky won it all for the first time, the Aces look plenty strong enough to join the party. Do the Sky still have a shot to repeat? Dang right, they do. Candace Parker, Kahleah Copper, Emma Meesseman, Courtney Vandersloot and a system built for success in the postseason aren’t about to go quietly. The Sky are trying to become the first WNBA team since the Sparks in 2001 and 2002 to raise back-to-back banners.
But first comes an opening-round matchup against ex-teammate Stefanie Dolson and the No. 7 seed Liberty. The reformatted postseason now begins with a best-of-three first round, with the higher-seeded team hosting Games 1 and 2.
Somebody, anybody, maybe everybody — find Sabrina Ionescu at the three-point line!
And here’s what’s happening:
Little League Softball World Series final (6 p.m., ESPN)
Officially, the tournament is in Greenville, North Carolina. As loudly and wholeheartedly as these girls holler and chant from the dugout all game long, however, they might as well be playing right in your backyard.
Astros at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH, FS1)
No more puppy-dog opponents for the Sox, who open a four-game set against the best team in the American League. What, you thought it was the Yankees? Nope.
Astros at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
Look, it’s all about winning games for the Sox at this point. But if Dylan Cease can outperform Justin Verlander and steal some Cy Young thunder from the future Hall of Famer, that’s pretty cool, too.
Cubs at Nationals (12:05 p.m., Marquee)
You’ve got to hand it to the plucky Nats, who — a mere 36½ games out of first place as the week began — have yet to be mathematically eliminated.
Liberty at Sky, Game 1 (7 p.m., ESPN2)
The Sky won the first matchup between the teams by 33 points, but the next three were all tight, with the Liberty winning 83-80 in Brooklyn when Vandersloot was out of the lineup. The champs have to get this one.
Cubs at Orioles (2:05 p.m., Marquee)
When these teams’ June 8 game was postponed, their well-below-.500 records were almost identical. Now? The O’s are gunning for a wild-card spot while the Cubs are, well, you know.
Bears at Seahawks (7 p.m., ESPN)
With Russell Wilson gone, the Seahawks have Geno Smith and Drew Lock competing for the job of starting quarterback. Sheesh, that might be even more embarrassing than the turf at Soldier Field.
Brewers at Cubs (1:20 p.m., Marquee)
Spoiler alert: Starting with this one, 14 of the Cubs’ next 17 games are against the Brewers and Cardinals.
White Sox at Guardians (6:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
Of all the indignities the Sox have experienced this season, losing a must-win series in Cleveland would go straight to the top of the list. No pressure, fellas.
Texans at Rams (9 p.m., NFL Network)
Well, well, look who’s driving the sleigh for the Texans — ex-Bears and ex-Illinois coach Lovie Smith. At least, you can try to look. Hidden behind that Santa Claus beard, the Lovester can be hard to find.
Liberty at Sky, Game 2 (11 a.m., ESPN)
Game, set, match and on to the semifinals against the Sun? That’s what we’re thinking, but what do we know?
Broncos at Bills (noon, NFL Network)
Wilson didn’t take any snaps in his new team’s preseason opener, so this might be a chance to see him spin his first footballs as a Bear … oops, make that Bronco.
White Sox at Guardians (5:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
The Sox simply cannot back down to Jose Ramirez just because he has more career home runs against them than he has against any other team. OK, fine, maybe they can back down a little.
White Sox at Guardians (11:05 a.m., Peacock)
If the Sox are still standing after such a tough week of games, strap in for an exciting finish. And if they aren’t, there’s always the exciting topic of the Soldier Field turf to focus on.
New York City at Fire (5 p.m., Ch. 9)
The good news: It can’t be any worse for the Fire than their 4-1 loss to the Union last time out. The bad news: Wait, can it?