The WNBA finishes off their week with what should be a pair of defensive contests with the Storm hosting the Sky and the Silver Stars at home to meet the Lynx.

The WNBA ends its week on Sunday night with only two matchups on the board as the Minnesota Lynx visit the Silver Stars in San Antonio and the Seattle Storm host the Chicago Sky.

Both games will be televised back-to-back on NBA TV so why not sit back and get your baseball All-Star break started early with some WNBA action?!  Although these are not marquee games, there is still money to be made and I feel the totals are where to look for the value on Sunday instead of the sides.

WNBALynx at Silver Stars: Rematch of a low-scoring Friday night
On Friday the Silver Stars were victorious over the Lynx in Minnesota by the score of 77-61 and today’s rematch between the two teams is unlikely to have a different outcome. It will not get any easier for the Lynx whose 61 points on the board Friday night was the lowest they have scored all season against any opponent.

Minnesota is used to having their way offensively, averaging 83 points a game this season to make them the WNBA’s second-highest scoring offense.  But the Lynx have come up way short with scoring this season when facing some of the league’s better defenses such as the Sacramento Monarchs and Seattle Storm.  You can include the Silver Stars among that group as well with them being ranked 5th in the WNBA for defense averaging only 72 points allowed per game and Friday’s defensive effort from them certainly being no fluke.

It is also wise to take into account that the San Antonio defense has faced the scoring fire power of the Phoenix Mercury twice this season out of their 10 games thus far and that, in itself, will make any team’s defensive statistics get averaged worse than the numbers should really show.  In the five games that the Silver Stars have played since their most recent meeting with Phoenix, they have averaged giving up only 67 points a game.

Ruth Riley of San Antonio is leading the WNBA this season in blocks and is averaging 2.3 per game with an above-average three blocks in each of her last two games.  She also had one of her best rebounding efforts of the season on Friday against the Lynx pulling down nine of them.  Both of these teams also rank in the bottom half of the WNBA in free throw percentage which is sure to help the under come in.

The total for this game currently sits at 152 which is three points less than Friday’s total closed at between these teams.  Although some handicappers may look at that as lost value in taking the under today, I feel the total should have been adjusted even more low.  I have seen this happen before where a second matchup between teams after a prior low scoring game will have its total adjusted a bit lower, but the bookies are sometimes fearful of adjusting it too much.  And that is when you can step in and take advantage by getting on board with the under.

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Sky at Storm:  Revenge-minded Seattle defense will continue to impress at home
Last month the Storm met the Sky as a road favorite in Chicago and were upset.  Back then, I felt Seattle was ripe for a loss in that game as they had just come off an impressive win in Minnesota and ended the winning streak the Lynx started the season with. In losing 64-57 against the Sky, it was one of the Storm’s worst efforts of the season and you know they will be looking for revenge tonight as they host Chicago in a rematch.

The Storm have played outstanding defense at home all season with the two best efforts coming this week against the Monarchs and Silver Stars giving up 55 and 53 points, respectively, in those games.  Normally, I would see this spot as a bit of a letdown situation as Seattle has faced seven straight Western Conference opponents since their first battle with the Sky last month.

However, with the Storm dropping their prior matchup with the Sky in Chicago, I am expecting a roaring effort of revenge from them on Sunday night and it should start with continuing to dominate with defense.  The Storm have allowed only 36% shooting from opponents from the field at home which shuts down opponents even more than their league-high of allowing 39% overall.

With the Sky only able to put up 64 points in Chicago against the Storm, I feel that number on the board will be even less tonight.  June’s matchup between the teams only had six blocks total combined from both teams and I feel we could see a lot more than that amount tonight.  Lauren Jackson of the Storm has averaged two blocks per game – making her the second best shot blocker in the WNBA behind Riley.  She has been in top form defensively with four blocks in each of this week’s two victories, and also had four against Sacramento when they visited the Key Arena in June.  The Sky may also cause their share of a few Storm turnovers as their guard Jia Perkins is among the league leaders in steals averaging 2.3 per game. 

Although the total for this game is a fairly low one, currently at 139.5, I feel there is no excuse for the game to not stay under here.  The Sky are coming into this game off a season-low of scoring against Indiana on Friday night as they mustered only 54 points.  Going out to Seattle from there two nights later should make the Sky feel an “L” in the loss column before this game even starts and difficulty finding the rims.

One concern I know some bettors would have here is what would happen with the total in this game if the Storm puts this one away early – could it mean some back-door Sky baskets in the second half?  Maybe a couple of them, but I feel the Seattle bench will feel enough team pride to keep the “not in our house” defensive strength going and hold Chicago’s scoring to an absolute minimum.

Katie Gearlds of the Storm’s bench had two steals on Thursday night against the Monarchs in only 13 minutes on the court – many WNBA players could not get that many in two or three times that amount of minutes.  I also noticed on Thursday night that the Storm’s starters put in quite a few minutes down the stretch against Sacramento which they did not really need to do with a sizeable lead so we might see that happen again as the team strives for mid-season form.

Get your reloads in for these games on Sunday and good luck!  Check back here at SBR on Tuesday and Wednesday for my thoughts on more WNBA action then.