Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WNBA: Stretch Drive To Playoffs Get Under Way

By Mel Greenberg

On Wednesday and Thursday the living daylights will highlight the WNBA schedule for the week with the stretch drive to the playoffs under way.

The theme could also be nothing but matinee for those two days because the four scheduled games for Wednesday and one for Thursday will all be completed long before time for dinner arrives locally.

We'll go day-by-day in a few minutes and update across the week but let's look at what each team faces overall.

In the East, the Atlanta Dream, with a slim one-game lead over the second place Washington Mystics, is on the road all week playing the Minnesota Lynx, Indiana Fever, and Connecticut Sun.

The Washington Mystics, trying to hold second place whi9le moving along in one of the best seasons ever for the team in the nation's capital, visits the New York Liberty, and hosts the Chicago Sky.

The Indiana Fever, the defending regular season and postseason titles, hosts the Connectcut Sun, Atlanta Dream and visits The New York Liberty hoping to close in on the Atlanta frontrunner.

The Connecticut Sun, which went into the weekend All-Stsr game off a two-game slide, visits Indiana and hosts Atlanta.

New York, which beat Chicago Sunday, hosts Washington, and Indiana hoping to gain enough attention that will ultimately name the next Olympic squad.

The Chicago Sky, hoping to revert a mild losing streak, hosts the San Antonio Silver Stars on Wednesday before taking on the Los Angeles Sparks Friday.

In the West, the Seattle Storm will look to keep reigning by huge amounts by winning at Phoenix, and traveling to Minnesota.

Phoenix, the defending WNBA chasmpion, hosts Seattle and the Tulsa Shock, the team that used to be dominate the East when it won three WNBA titles.

San Antonio, trying ttay in the mix, visits Chicago, hosts Tulsa and Los Angeles.

Minnesota, trying to be playoff bound instead of lotto bound, though events can drive the Lynx into blowing their position, hosts Atlanta, visits Indiana, and Seattle all from the Western Conference.

Los Angeles, trying to move into playoff position -- the joys of mediocrity in the West -- visits Tulsa, Chicago, and San Antonio.

Tulsa, with the same mission as Los Angeles, hosts the Sparks, visits San Antonio, and then Phoenix.

The Week Ahead -- And Behind -- Day By Day

No two basement classics are necessarily the same. On Sunday, New York rallied and beat Chicago in Madison Square Garden as former Rutgers star Cappie Pondexter scored 30 points a day after she played for the USA Team in the WNBA All-Star game at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Chicago's Sylvia Fowles, who played on the USA team and was easily named the MVP for her explosive 13-point performance within the third quarter, scored 12 against New York.

Now the bottom of the West takets its turn Tuesday night in the sole WNBA game as Los Angeles (4-13) visits Tulsa (3-14). Maybe two likes will cause a competitive game here also but then again, maybe not.

As stated earlier, it will be a matinee fiesta on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Wednesday action has San Antonio, trying to hold its ground, shaky as it is, when the Silver Stars visits Chicago, which has a much better record and trying to bounce back from the New York loss and head toward playoff contention.

In what is easily called a biggie, the Connecticut Sun, which went into the All-Star break with a two-game losing streak, visits the Indiana Fever, seeking to move closer to the top and away from the hands of New York and Chicago.
Indiana has been red hot and would like to continue the pace and maybe gain a little ground on the two teams in front.

Atlanta visits Minnesota looking to maintain its slim first-place lead while the Lynx will be looking to have an edge in the fourth spot ahead of Los Angeles and Tulsa.

Seattle, which is already in magic number countdown mode, visits Phoenix, which is nine games behind. By darkness, the Storm could be holding a 10-game West lead but it won't be lower than eight.

And in another biggies Thursday, Washington, seeking to stay ahead of Indy and Connecticut and move closer to Atlanta at the very top of the East, visits New York, which needs to game to move closer to land in a playoff spot.

Back in nighttime action on Friday, Atlanta visits Indianapolis -- another Eastern biggie confrontation. The game speaks for itself. Tulsa, trying to move closer to playoff land -- anyone want to guess the final records of the West playoff teams not named Seattle -- needs the win.
Los Angeles visits Chicago and the loser may be closer to landing UConn senior Maya Moore, who on Saturday showed she was WNBA-ready playing for the USA Team.

On Saturday, the marquee game is again out of the East when Atlanta visits Connecticut. When the two met just before the All-Star game, the Sun rallied but fell in overtime as each team eclipsed 100 points.

Seattle, heavily favored, will visit Minnesota, which could use the upset, while Tulsa visits Phoenix in a game both teams need.

There's no rest on Sunday in the WNBSA -- that's on Monday -- Los Angeles visits San Antonio hoping to be on a roll though something else may be edited into this paragraph depending what the Sparks do in their earlier games of the week.

East and the word biggie are becoming synonymous which will be lllustrated again when Insiana visits New York. There are actually two Eastern biggies -- you have until Friday to vote if you wish on which the Guru should attend. This game would be Chicago's visit to Washington, and this paragraph will update after previous games involving the two are completed.

No one will lose next Monday again -- there are no games, though the Guru will lose a little sleep posting the next WNBA week's outlook.

-- Mel

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