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, September 07, 2015

WNBA: New York Takes First While Other Playoff Seeds Up for Grabs in Final Week

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

And now to flip our WNBA tracking to the final week of the regular season instead of our ongoing bottom’s up posts on the race for the top lottery picks.

Here are all the latest
permutations in terms of finishes for the playoffs and magic number or what teams have to do to reach each attainable position.

Eastern Playoff Hunt

First let’s take the East with standings and games left.

$-New York 22-9 (3) Conn. (Wed); Wash (Fri); @Ind (Sun).
Chicago 20-12 (2) Tulsa (Fri); @ Conn. (Sun).
Indiana 18-13 (3) @ Wash (Tue); @ Atlanta (Fri); New York (Sun).
Wash 16-15 (3) Ind (Tue); at New York (Fri); Atlanta (Sun.)
Atlanta 13-18 (3) Los Angeles (Wed); Ind (Fri); @ Wash (Sun).

New York has clinched the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time since 2002 after winning at Minnesota Sunday in a narrow finish to sweep their two cross-divisional games with the Western Conference leaders.

The Liberty are in the driver’s seat after tying their all-time regular season win record at 22 to gain home court overall if they get to the finals with the Lynx trailing by one game.

However, Minnesota will finish hosting last place Seattle Tuesday and visiting the Storm on Friday so if they get to 23 the Liberty will need to win one more against Connecticut at home Wednesday, or against Washington on Friday at home, or at Indiana Sunday.

A footnote, with the success to date let the Guru be the first to note that first-year president Isiah Thomas now has a better track record in the front office of the Liberty then he did down the hall in the past overseeing the NBA Knicks.

Meanwhile, the defending Eastern playoff champion Chicago Sky, holding second at 20-12 needs to win one of its last two games hosting the Tulsa Shock Friday night in a cross-divisional game or at the Connecticut Sun on Sunday.

Connecticut is already in the lottery for the third straight year but would take satisfaction at being a spoiler to knock the Sky out of a home advantage in the first round if the Sky need to win that game. Chicago won the season series with Indiana.

The Fever, at 18-13 but in the playoffs for the 11th straight season, need Chicago to lose its last two and win its final three at Washington Tuesday, at Atlanta Sunday and hosting New York on Sunday.

They can clinch third at worst with a win at Washington on Tuesday or otherwise if they win their remaining two games or they split their last two and so does Washington.

In the event Washington decides to right the ship they must beat Indiana on Tuesday to gain the season series and have a shot at third by winning their last two at New York and hosting Atlanta while Indiana splits their remaining games.

In any event, to make the playoffs the Mystics need to win one of their remaining games.

Of course those of us in the East looking for cheap travel budgets. can take solace that a New York/Washington first round matchup gets us to all games, if necessary, and guarantees a stop at either one (Washington) or two (New York), if necessary, in the Eastern finals.

If Atlanta continues to win beating Los Angeles Tuesday night and Indiana Friday and Washington loses its next two it will come down to winner take all four fourth and loser good luck landing Breanna Stewart following Sunday’s game.

Western Playoff Race

Minnesota 21-11 (2) Seattle (Tues); at Seattle (Fri).
Phoenix 19-13 (2) Los Angeles (Fri); at Tulsa (Sun).
Tulsa 16-15 (3) San Antonio (Tues); @ Chicago (Fri); Phoenix (Sun).
Los Angeles 14-18 (2) @ Atlanta (Wed); @ Phoenix (Fri).

Minnesota needs one win or Phoenix loss to clinch West since Mercury won season series otherwise Lynx drop at worst to second. The Lynx must also sweep and need New York to lose all three of its remaining games to gain home court all the way if they get to the finals.

Phoenix needs to sweep two games and Minnesota to lose twice to Seattle to finish first in season series win to gain first place tie breaker.

Phoenix has clinched second at worst since the defending WNBA champions have won the season series over Tulsa.

The Tulsa (16-15) magic number to finish third is one win at San Antonio Tuesday, at Chicago Friday or over Phoenix at home Sunday because Los Angeles’ win this past Sunday gave the Sparks the season series.

Likewise Los Angeles (14-18) must win at Atlanta on Wednesday and at Phoenix Friday while the Shock lose all three for the Sparks to move up to third.
-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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