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.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guru's WNBA Musings: There's Some Interesting Gridlock Scenarios Looming This Weekend

By Mel Greenberg

Nothing like a little bit of excitment Wednesday night in two games with the forlorn and battered Connecticut Sun topping the Atlanta Dream on Mistie Bass' shot with 11 seconds left and then rookie sensation and Delaware grad Elena Delle Donne adding another buzzer-beater to her collection as the Chicago Sky made it a cross-conference 2-0 sweep of the Phoenix Mercury.

Delle Donne's shot may loom even larger to add to her earlier heroics in several WNBA games in this historic season for Chicago, which had not had either a winning record or playoff appearance in the Sky's previous seven seasons of existence.

Though all the playoff participants are determined, seeding is still to be completed and in terms of the have-nots a wild finish is possible in terms of the lineup for best chances for overall No. 1 pick in the next draft.

First, here's what's at stake at the top of the heap.

If Minnesota beats Los Angeles on the road Thursday night, the Lynx claim overall best record for the third straight season and homecourt advantage all the way through the playoffs if they advance -- not that it delievered value last season when the Indiana Fever ruined defense of the championship and won their first WNBA title.

But if Minnesota loses to Los Angeles and on Friday night Chicago beats Atlanta then an interesting scenario will occur in the final game on Sunday when the Sky with a previous win over the Lynx head to Minneapolis.

If the Lynx get revenge for the narrow overtime loss in the windy city suburbs, then they are top dogs in total seeds.

But if Chicago wins, they tie and the Sky with a sweep claims the best overall seed. Pokey Chatman's team would also have best cross conference record at 8-4 ahead of the 7-5 Lynx and Washington, not that the Mystics are part of this phase of the discussion.

But they are part of the next one. If Atlanta loses to Chicago Friday night and at San Antonio Sunday, and if Washington beats Connecticut Friday and the New York Liberty Sunday, and if Indiana beats New York Friday night and Connecticut Sunday there will be a three-way tie for second at 17-17.

However, despite Atlanta's tough loss to the Sun Wednesday night, the Dream took the second seed in the East and home court advantage in the first round because they have the best overall record in terms of the three teams against each other.

That leaves Washington and Indiana to fight it out for three and four the next two games and since they were 2-2, if they should tie, then Indiana gets the third seed off what would be a better conference record.

But either could top the other with a better overall record if one of them goes 2-0 this weekend.

But Delaware fans, aka Elena Delle Donne fans, would be thrilled because in a Chicago-Washington opener would put Game 2 in the nearby nation's capital for a weekend game either Saturday or Sunday.

So that's the playoff deal.

Now, get this.

If Connecticut beats Washington and Indiana, they finish 11-23.

If New York loses to Indiana and Washington, they finish 11-23 besides having some say in the playoff seeds involving the Liberty opponents.

If Tulsa loses both games to the playoff bound Seattle Storm Thursday at home and Saturday in the Emerald City, the Shock will finish 11-23.

And if San Antonio loses at Phoenix Thursday night and at home to Atlanta Sunday the Silver Stars finish 11-23.

Imagine if this was last year, though there is still nice value, maybe even enough value for all four teams, which will all tie for worst record at 11-23.

How does that break? Good question since crossover conference teams are involved. But let's not make it wasted energy and see where we are Saturday night going into Sunday before getting an answer.

So either at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom, the regular season is going to carry suspense possibly right through Sunday night's final buzzer,

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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