Storm now prep for Phoenix Mercury in second-round game, Breanna Stewart's status still unknown

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Storm now prep for Mercury in second-round game, Stewart's status still unknown originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

The second-round of the 2021 WNBA playoffs are set!

After earning a first-round bye, the Seattle Storm now know their second-round opponent. 

The single-elimination playoff game will tip-off at 12 p.m. PT on Sunday at Angel Of The Winds Arena in Everett and will be broadcast on ABC as the Storm face their Western Conference rival, the Phoenix Mercury.

Looking at the other second-round matchup on Sunday, the No. 6 Chicago Sky will face the No. 3 seeded Minnesota Lynx. 

Thursday, as the No. 5 seed in the WNBA Playoffs, Phoenix narrowly defeated the No. 8 New York Liberty in its first-round game on Thursday night in an 83-82 win.

The Mercury were without their star guard Diana Taurasi once again.

The 39-year-old superstar has been dealing with a lingering left ankle sprain.

Her status for Sunday in Seattle is still up in the air.

Taurasi missed the final four games of the regular season with the ankle injury. This season she averaged 15.2 points and 4.9 assists per game.

With the Storm recharging and focusing on themselves as a team this week, Thursday was an off day.

But the team was back to work while going through full preparation for the Mercury during Friday's practice and as Storm head coach Noelle Quinn describes it, the team is now “paying more attention to detail.”

“Looking at how [Phoenix] played last night, getting information from that and preparing for all scenarios whether Taurasi plays or she doesn’t,” Quinn said following Friday’s practice.

Today I thought there was good focus and attention to that detail.

Coach Quinn said Friday

As for the Storm’s latest injury updates, Seattle forward Breanna Stewart is continuing to rehab. Stewart missed the final two regular season contests with a left foot injury that she suffered on Sept. 7 against the Washington Mystics.

The 27-year-old has not returned to practice as Coach Quinn confirmed.

She did not practice today. She’s still in her rehab process and we will kind of re-evaluate her tomorrow.

Coach Quinn on Breanna Stewart

The Storm and Mercury recently squared off in Seattle’s regular-season finale last Friday. The 94-85 win for the Storm helped Seattle clinch the No. 4 seed and earn the first-round bye. With the loss, Phoenix dropped to the No. 5 seed.

In the win, Storm guard Jewell Loyd led the way on both ends of the court. Her defensive effort really caught the attention of Coach Quinn, but Loyd also finished with 37 points, which was the most by a player in the WNBA this season.

Of course, the playoffs are always a different beast, but this year, Seattle won the season series against Phoenix, 2-1.

The Storm are 5-2 in home playoff contests versus the Mercury.  

Coach Quinn added, “the energy and effort has to be there,” in order for Seattle to escape Sunday's single-elimination game.

For tickets to Sunday’s second-round contest against the Storm and the Mercury check out ticketcentral.seattlestormbasketball.com.