The 2021 WNBA Playoffs are upon us with the first round set to tip-off on Thursday, Sept. 23.
There are three Canadians who are looking to earn their first-ever WNBA title, two of which are competing on the same team.
Bridget Carleton (Chatham, ON) and Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, ON) represent the Minnesota Lynx, who have earned a first-round bye by way of finishing with a 22-10 record, good for the second-best record in the Western Conference.
Kia Nurse (Hamilton, ON) and the Phoenix Mercury will have their work cut out for them, competing in the first round after finishing with a 19-13 record, which was fifth-best in the WNBA.
For more on these Canadian's paths to a title, we have you covered below.
Kia Nurse, Phoenix Mercury
Opponent: New York Liberty
Date/Time: Thursday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. ET (Sportsnet One)
Nurse faces off against a familiar foe in the single-elimination first round when the Mercury take on her former team, the New York Liberty. Nurse was drafted 10th overall by the Liberty back in 2018, making her first-ever All-Star appearance as a member of New York in 2019.
This past offseason, Nurse was traded by the Liberty to Phoenix as part of a three-team trade that landed New York three-time WNBA champion Natasha Howard, who has played a key role in helping her team go from last place to the playoffs.
Nurse is averaging 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game on the season and will look to come up big to keep the Mercury's playoff push alive beyond the first game.
Should the Mercury win and advance, they would take on the No. 4 seed Seattle Storm on Sunday, Sept. 26 in another single-elimination contest. The time of the game is to be determined.
Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton, Minnesota Lynx
Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 26, TBD
Achonwa, Carleton and the Lynx earned a first-round bye after finishing with the third-best record in the W this past season.
After spending her first six seasons with the Indiana Fever, Achonwa signed with the Lynx as a free agent this past offseason. The Canadian forward appeared in 21 games this season, missing time after suffering a medial collateral ligament sprain early in the season. She averaged 3.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Carleton joined the Lynx in 2019 on a seven-day contract before the franchise brought her onto the full-time roster. She appeared in all 32 games this past season, averaging 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Minnesota will face the lowest-seeded teams that advances out of the first round, competing in a single-elimination game to try and advance to the best of five WNBA Semifinals.
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