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.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

WNBA: Bone's Game Winner in Texas for Connecticut Sets Up Seattle/San Antonio Showdown in Stewie Race

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

What irony.

In the Slide for Stewie race – to see who will land Connecticut senior Breanna Stewart as the No. 1 overall pick in next April’s WNBA resulting from the lottery draw – a WNBA Connecticut Sun player Friday night potentially became the “Tina Thompson Moment” of the 2015 season to determine who gets the rights to pick the native of Syracuse.

The Guru in the ongoing storylines of lottery emphasis in years superior talent exists for teams in the top of the draft order so named the Tina Thompson moment for a game in the final two weeks of the 2010 season.

That summer the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks were tied in the season series at the bottom of a woeful West loaded with weak teams behind the Seattle Storm machine from second place down in terms of making the fourth and final playoff slot in the conference.

It was Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve’s first season at the helm and enduring the same kind of mass number of injuries that Sun coach and Hall of Famer Anne Donovan has had to deal with this time around.

Anyhow with about four seconds to go in that game the Lynx went ahead only to see Thompson just before time expired launch a long shot to give Los Angeles the victory.

Since the games that followed to conclude the regular season went as predicted Los Angeles with a tiebreaker landed in the playoffs and Minnesota entered the lottery as the No. 2 team in the four-team pecking order but got help from Lady Luck in the drop of the ping pong balls to earn the rights to the No. 1 pick and so selected UConn great Maya Moore.

The native of Georgia in her rookie season the following year helped Minnesota dominate to win its first WNBA title after years as a doormat, then in 2012 the Lynx finished second before they won it again in 2013.

Well, it could be that a similar moment arrived Friday night in the Lone Star State of Texas where Kelsey Bone lifted Connecticut to a 73-72 win over the San Antonio Sliver Stars that set up the home team to a toe-to-toe finish for worst record with Seattle, whom coincidentally San Antonio will visit a week from Sunday in the final game of the regular season.

The shot also eliminated any chance with one exception for Connecticut to catch San Antonio for second worst record and the Sun will be third regardless if either the Washington Mystics or Atlanta Dream are the other team out of the East.

Mathematically, if Los Angeles loses its remaining three games hosting the Tulsa Shock Sunday, and visiting Atlanta Wednesday and the Phoenix Mercury Friday while Seattle were to win at Chicago Sunday, sweep Minnesota Tuesday and Thursday and then beat San Antonio, the Storm would win the season tiebreak with Los Angeles sending the Sparks to the lottery.

Then either Connecticut would be in the No. 2 lottery slot or share the odds with Los Angeles if the Sun were to beat host New York on Wednesday and then visiting Chicago next Sunday.

If not for a change in the lottery drill several weeks ago San Antonio would be in the driver’s seat with a two-game lead and three remaining games while Seattle has four contests left including the game the two play against each other.

But once the four teams are determined – San Antonio and Connecticut are already in the group and Atlanta is one Washington win or Dream loss away while likewise Seattle is one loss or Los Angeles win away – the combined two-year records of the quartet will be used to determine the best odds in order for the group from worst record to fourth worst with odds to be shared in any tie-breaking situation.

Though the numbers in that standings are below here is how they stand also up here as part of this narrative after Friday night’s action with records reversed to L-W. Remaining games are also listed in parenthesis with the schedules.

It also should be noted that nothing is easy as of this moment because teams in the playoff fields are fighting for seed positions and home court advantage.

Seattle 43-21 (4) at Chicago (Sun), at Minn. (Tue), Minn (Thu); San Ant. (Sun).
%San Ant. 42-23 (3) Phoenix (Sat), at Tulsa (Tue), at Seattle (Sun).
%Conn. 39-27 (2) at New York (Wed); Chicago (Sun-9/13).
#Los Angeles 36-29 (3) Tulsa (Sun), at Atlanta (Wed), at Phoenix (Fri).
Atlanta 33-31 (4) Washington (Sun), Los Angeles (Wed); Indiana (Fri), at Washington (Sun).
#Washington 32-32 (4) at Atlanta (Sun), Indiana (Tue), at NY (Wed), Atlanta (Sun).

%-Clinched lottery position
#-Currently holding 4th place playoff positions.

So if Seattle goes 1-2 with an upset in one of its next three games and San Antonio wins its next two they will be tied for worst two-year record going into their meeting in the Northwest.

Meanwhile, its very simple in the fight between Atlanta and Washington that includes two head-to-heads. An Atlanta sweep, which would include the two left with the Mystics, and a continued Washington slide ties the two at the finish and playoff rights go Atlanta with what would be a 3-2 capture of the season series.

Meanwhile, as mentioned in the previous post on the Stewie Standings but repeated here, with Connecticut likely in the third slot, the Sun could get bumped to fourth under another part of the lottery changes in which the team with the worst record, if not finishing first or second in the draw, would be guaranteed the third pick.

These are the ways Connecticut gets bumped.

Team 4, Team 2, TEAM 1, Team 3
Team 2, Team 4, TEAM 1, Team 3

The other team guaranteed third slots combinations would be

Team 4, Team 3, TEAM 1, Team 2
Team 3, Team 4, TEAM 1, Team 2
Team 2, Team 3, TEAM 1, Team 4
Team 3, Team 2, TEAM 1, Team 4

One thing that has been determined since the Guru’s last post is that the suspense over all this will end sooner rather than later after the league announced Thursday that the results will air on ESPN2 on Sept. 24 at halftime of the Eastern Conference best-of-three opener of the conference finals.

Now, here are today’s updates and this will update again after Sunday’s games.

Slide For Stewie Standings
(Thru Fri., Sept. 4)
Team L W *-GBO *-GBL MNL

%-San Ant. 24-7 -- --
Seattle 21-9 2.5 -- MNL- 1
#Los Angeles 18-13 5 3.5
Atlanta 18-12 5.5 -- MNL-1
%-Conn. 18-14 6.5 -- --
#Washington 14-16 9.5 4.5

*- GBO is Overall Games Behind Worst Record. GBL is Games Behind Lottery Slot, MNL is Magic Number to Clinch Lottery
#-Top Team Below Lottery Cut in Each Division
%-Clinched 2016 Lottery Draw

Combined Divisions Adjusted Lottery Positions With Two-Year Records
(Thru Wed., Sept. 2)

Seattle 43-21 -- -- MNL-1 Remain-4
%-San Ant. 42-23 1.5 – Remain-3
Conn. 39-27 5.0 – -- Remain-2
#-LA 36-29 7.5 3.5 Remain-3
Atlanta 33-31 10.0 – MNL-1 Remain-4
#-Wash 32-32 11.0 Remain-4

%-Clinched 2016 Lottery Draw #-Team Below Cut
MNL-Magic Number for Slot

Remaining Games Among Lottery Contenders
(Thru Mon., Aug. 31)

Seattle 43-21 (4) @Chi-Sun; @-Minn-Tu; Minn-Fri; !-San Antonio-Sun

San Ant. 42-23 (3) Phnx-Sat; @Tulsa-Tues; !-@Seattle-Sun

Conn. 39-27 (2) @-New York-Wed; Chi-Sun

#-LA 36-29 (3) Tulsa-Sun; !-@Atl-Wed; @-Phnx-Fri

Atl 33-31 (4) !-Wash-Sun; !-LA-Wed; Ind-Fri; @-Wash-Sun

#-Wash 32-32 (4) !-@Atl-Sun; Ind-Tues; @-NY-Fri; !-Atl-Sun

!-A head-to-head Stewie game.

Results Five Points Or Less
Most Recent at Top Thru Fri., Sept. 4
!-Games Against Other Lottery Contenders

!-Connecticut 73, San Antonio 72
!-Los Angeles 93, Washington 91
New York 80, Atlanta 75, ovt.
Connecticut 72, Chicago 68
Chicago 98, Atlanta 96
Phoenix 81, Connecticut 80
!-Los Angeles 81 Indiana 79
Indiana 80, New York 79
Chicago 66, Washington 64
Chicago 87, Washington 85
Tulsa 84, Conn. 76, ovt.
Minnesota 84, Atlanta 82
!-Washington 66, San Antonio 63
Chicago 71, Washington 68
!-Los Angeles 80, San Antonio 78
Phoenix 71, Atlanta 68
!-Connecticut 67, Seattle 66
Phoenix 89, Chicago 87, ovt.
Connecticut 78, Minnesota 77
Indiana 75, Connecticut 73
New York 81, Seattle 77
Chicago 97, Atlanta 92
Los Angeles 75, Phoenix 70
!-Atlanta 76, Los Angeles 72
Indiana 83, Tulsa 80
New York 79, Washington 76
New York 75, Phoenix 73
Phoenix 94, New York 91
Los Angeles 98, Tulsa 93
Chicago 77, Connecticut 74
Tulsa 93, Seattle 89
!-San Antonio 73, Seattle 71
!-Atlanta 82, Washington 79
!-Connecticut 80, Los Angeles 76
San Antonio 76, Phoenix 71
Chicago 100, Atlanta 96
!-Washington 84, Los Angeles 80
Atlanta 74, Chicago 73
!-Atlanta 64, Washington 61
Indiana 77, Phoenix 74
Connecticut 67, Chicago 65
!-Atlanta 72, San Antonio 69
!-Connecticut 75, Atlanta 70
Washington 67, New York 62
!-Washington 73, Connecticut 68
Phoenix 76, San Antonio 71

!-Games Against Other Lottery Contenders

Reverse Overall Performance in Close Games

Team L W

Seattle 4-0
San Antonio 5-2
Washington 7-4
Atlanta 8-5
Connecticut 5-5
Los Angeles 4-5

Reverse Close Game Performance Against Other Lottery Contenders

Team L W

San Antonio 4-1
Los Angeles 3-3
Washington 3-3
Seattle 1-0
Connecticut 0-3
Atlanta 1-4

Reverse Overall Performance Against Other Lottery Contenders

San Antonio 11-4 1
Los Angeles 9-5 1
Connecticut 4-9 0
Seattle 6-8 1
Atlanta 4-7 3
Washington 5-7 2

GMRL-Games Remaining Against Lottery Contenders

That’s it for now.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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