In today's sports in brief, Kentucky Derby winner Authentic is favored in the Preakness, the Clippers' Doc Rivers won't return as coach, and the Bears opt for Nick Foles at QB.

AP

It's Minnesota. The No. 2 seed Storm will open the WNBA playoffs at noon Sunday in the best-of-five semifinals against the No. 4 Lynx, which squeaked past No. 5 Phoenix 80-79 on Thursday night in a single-elimination second round game in Bradenton, Florida.

Following a return from an Achilles injury that wiped out her 2019 WNBA season, Storm forward Breanna Stewart regained her place among the league’s premier players and named the Associated Press comeback player of the year.

AP

During its five-game winning streak, the Storm have been checking the boxes on a lengthy to-do list before the start of the postseason.

AP

More than anything, the Storm's abundance of depth and relative fortune as it regards to health appears to be responsible for its first-place position in the WNBA standings.

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BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Jewell Loyd scored 20 points and Breanna Stewart added 15 points and Seattle used the second quarter to take control in a 74-68 win over Phoenix on Saturday.

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SEATTLE — A month ago Sue Bird was standing in the streets of Seattle joking with Storm fans in a video clip about — shocker — returning to the team for a 19th WNBA season.

SEATTLE — The last time anyone saw Breanna Stewart on a WNBA court, the 2018 Player of the Year cradled the league’s championship trophy like a baby in one arm while clutching the Finals MVP award with her other hand.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Sparks, under the guidance of first-year coach Derek Fisher, have battled through adversity all season and leaned on that experience in their single-elimination second-round playoff game with defending-champion Seattle.

No one would have blamed Jordin Canada and Mercedes Russell if the first-year starters had fallen flat in their attempts at substituting for a pair of injured All-Stars.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd combined to score 30 of their 38 points in the first half and the Seattle Storm beat the Dallas Wings 78-64 on Sunday. 

LOS ANGELES — Candace Parker scored 20 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 14 points and 10 rebounds and the Los Angeles Sparks wrapped up the No. 3 seed with a 102-68 victory over the Seattle Storm on Thursday night.

PHOENIX — Natasha Howard scored 11 of her 22 points in the first quarter and the Seattle Storm got off to a strong start en route to an 82-70 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night in a battle for WNBA playoff positioning.

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Shekinna Stricklen scored 24 points and made a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds left to help the Connecticut Sun rally from a late seven-point deficit and beat the Seattle Storm 79-78 on Friday night.

NEW YORK — Seattle coach Dan Hughes walked off the court after the Storm beat New York impressed with the atmosphere he just saw.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Candace Parker scored a season-high 21 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 13 points, 10 rebounds and three steals and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Seattle Storm 83-75 on Sunday.

SEATTLE — Several weeks before perennial WNBA All-Star point guard Sue Bird underwent knee surgery that could possibly sideline her for the entire 2019 season, Storm coach Dan Hughes decided to fundamentally change the team’s personality.

SEATTLE — During a brilliant four-year career at Washington, Kelsey Plum almost single-handedly transformed UW women’s basketball games into must-see theater while attracting sellout crowds to witness the NCAA record-setting scoring dynamo.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Natasha Howard scored a career-high 33 points, Sami Whitcomb made five of Seattle’s 12 3-pointers and the Storm closed the game on a 10-0 run to beat the Minnesota Lynx 90-79 on Wednesday night.