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.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

WNBA: Two-Year Slide-for-Stewie Records Show San Antonio and Seattle Battling for Overall Worst

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Welcome to week five in our Slide for Stewie Standings, the tongue-in-cheek reverse look at the other race down the stretch of the WNBA regular season toward this fall’s lottery to determine who will have the best shot at landing UConn senior Breanna Stewart, the grand prize in next April’s draft.

The Syracuse native exists in the spirit of such previous gems and themes as the 2013 Three-to-See: Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, and Skylar Diggins out of the 2012 summer; the 2011 haul of Maya Moore out of 2010 and the year before Tina Charles out of the 2009 summer.

Before going further, if this your first time visiting this ongoing post, you might need to go to back to the first in a series to understand terminology.

But this week we have major shifts in our report with but two weeks left in the regular season. As teams that were in the lottery hunt, as was the entire Eastern Conference, began making their way into the postseason such as New York and Chicago, the duo have been dropped from the lottery group, though some of their numbers are being retained to examine key moments that determined seed positions in the playoffs.

Washington and Indiana are on the verge of making the postseason but since they are also technically alive in the lottery race, they remain in the mix which has been adjusted. The Los Angeles Sparks are close to also making the playoffs as the last qualifier in the West.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio Silver Stars are the first to clinch a seat on lottery night with the Seattle Storm right behind and the magic number is one, two at worst for the Connecticut Sun and Atlanta to wrap up the other two lottery slots out of the East.

But this week per the lottery change several weeks ago, coincidentally two days after the Guru started this exercise, this week besides the standings we have kept, we are now adding last season’s won-loss records to everyone still alive since that will be the procedure once the four lottery teams are determined.

We also added a list of who has to play who in the final two weeks among the lottery contenders with denotations when games involve both teams in the hunt.

By doing this several things are coming into focus. There is a horse race between San Antonio and Seattle are in a horse race for worst record and Connecticut still in the hunt, though the next loss by San Antonio and Seattle or Connecticut win will push the Sun into third.

In the past week, we had four close games of five points or less – games lost by more after holding a lead as Washington did at Seattle will be addressed later if necessary – and the narrow outcomes were the buzzer-beating 81-79 win by Los Angeles at Indiana, likewise with the 81-80 Phoenix Mercury triumph at Connecticut, the 98-96 Chicago Sky win at Atlanta that put the defending Eastern playoff champs back in the postseason, and Connecticut’s 72-68 rally Sunday over Chicago on the road.

San Antonio helped itself with a 2-0 week in terms of no victories – remember we do this backwards – while Connecticut was 2 losses and a win. Indiana lost three straight but still would have to really slide to not make another playoff trip.

Right now unlike other years there will be some separation barring unforeseen results between the last playoff fourth-place qualifier in each conference.

So there will be no pointing to such an outcome in the final weeks as to who gets in and not as was the case in 2010 when Tina Thompson’s buzzer beater basically became the key play that sent Los Angeles to the playoffs and the Minnesota Lynx to the lottery where as number two in line, the ping pong balls combined with lady luck to produce Maya Moore.

However, we are already seeing some key elements to look at: Connecticut will have to rely mostly on luck but the Sun might have been in the statistical driver’s seat had not they got off to that 7-1 winning start or managed to eke out some close wins over Seattle and San Antonio.


All that said, all the numbers are listed below and some of it will be updated the rest of the way daily such as the combo records. Once teams make the playoffs, they will be removed from the draft contender list and the records against each other will be re-adjusted.

There still is a chart for overall loss-won games of five points or less.

On Tuesday night, in a game at the Garden we’ll attend, a New York Liberty win against Atlanta would put Bill Laimbeer and company on the doorstep of finishing first while an Atlanta loss pretty much puts the dream into the lottery mix.

Connecticut will be at Indy where a host Fever win gets them into the postseason and officially knocks the Sun in the postseason for the third straight year.

Ironically, San Antonio and Seattle finish the regular season off Sunday night and that game could very well determine who gets the best odds and who will have to rely even more on luck of the bounce.

Incidentally, as much as the focus is on Stewie, more and more in the underbelly is being said about George Washington’s Jonquel Jones, who may up becoming better than a consolation prize for one of the three teams who fail to get Stewie.

Slide For Stewie Standings
(Thru Mon., Aug. 31)
Team L W *-GBO *-GBL MNL

%-San Ant. 23-7 -- --
Seattle 20-9 2.5 -- MNL- 3
#Los Angeles 18-12 5 2.5
Atlanta 17-12 5.5 -- MNL-1
Conn. 17-13 6.0 -- MNL-1
#Washington 12-16 10 4
Indiana 12-17 10.5 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

Overall Adjusted Lottery Positions With Two-Year Records
(Thru Mon., Aug. 31)
Team L W *-GBO *-GBL MNL GMS LEFT

Seattle 42-21 -- -- MNL-3 Remain-5
%-San Ant. 41-23 1.5 – Remain-4
Conn. 38-26 4.5 – MNL-1 Remain-4
#-LA 36-28 6.5 2.5 Remain-4
Atlanta 32-31 10.0 – MNL-1 Remain-5
#-Wash 30-32 11.5 Remain-6
#-Indiana 30-33 12.0 Remain-5

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

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

Seattle 42-21 (5) Tulsa-Th; @Chi-Sun; @-Minn-Tu; Minn-Fri; !-San Antonio-Sun

San Ant. 41-23 (4) !-Conn-Fri; Phnx-Sat; @Tulsa-Tues; !-@Seattle-Sun

Conn. 38-26 (4) !-@Ind-Tue; !-@San Ant.-Fri; @-New York-Wed; Chi-Sun

#-LA 36-28 (4) !-Wash-Thur; Tulsa-Sun; !-@Atl-Wed; @-Phnx-Fri

Atl 32-21 (5) @-NY-Tues; !-Wash-Fri; !-LA-Wed; !-Ind-Fri; @-Wash-Sun

#-Wash 30-32 (6) @Phnx-Wed; !-@LA-Thur; !-@Atl-Fri; !-Ind-Tues; @-NY-Fri; !-Atl-Sun

#-Ind (5) !-Conn-Tues; @-Minn-Fri; !-@Wash-Tues; @-Atl-Fri; NY-Sun

!-A head-to-head Stewie game.

Results Five Points Or Less
Most Recent at Top Thru Mon., Aug. 31
!-Games Against Other Lottery Contenders


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

Reverse Overall Performance in Close Games

Team L W

Seattle 4-0
San Antonio 4-2
Los Angeles 4-4
Washington 6-4
Atlanta 7-5
Connecticut 5-4
Indiana 1-4

Reverse Close Game Performance Against Other Lottery Contenders

Team L W

San Antonio 3-1
Los Angeles 3-2
Washington 2-3
Seattle 1-0
Indiana 0-0
Connecticut 0-3
Atlanta 1-4

Reverse Overall Performance Against Other Lottery Contenders

Team L W GMRL
San Antonio 11-5 2
#-Los Angeles 10-5 2
Connecticut 8-8 2
Seattle 8-8 1
Atlanta 6-8 4
#-Washington 6-9 4
#-Indiana 5-10 3

GMRL-Games Remaining Against Lottery Contenders

That’s it for now.

-- Mel







- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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