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.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

WNBA: Washington Win Helps Atlanta Back into Last Slot in the Four-Team Slide for Stewie Race

(Guru’s note: Fuller Washington game story and stretch drive for playoffs in separate post below this post)

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

In the world of the Slide for Stewie Standings here, in speaking of prized talent University of Connecticut senior Breanna Stewart, the Washington Mystics twice blew 11-point deficits against the Indiana Fever Tuesday to get forced into overtime and no thanks to Latoya Sanders’ putback as time flowed into the last minute of the extra period, beat the visitors 76-72 the earn a spot in the postseason for the third straight summer, all under coach Mike Thibault.

As a result Washington is no longer a factor in what will be one of the all-time No. 1 selections for the team that gets to call Stewart’s name next April in the draft. The Atlanta Dream stopped a string of playoff involvement by backing into the last of the four Stewie/lottery slots as the regular season comes to a close Sunday.

But all is not done in the backwards race for Stewie since the San Antonio Silver Stars, who have this year’s worst record at 7-22 to qualify for the lottery, fell Tuesday night to the Tulsa Shock 74-64, while the Seattle Storm, who is right behind, fell to Western Conference leading Minnesota Lynx 73-67 in Minneapolis to stand at 9-23.

The Connecticut Sun, who go to the Eastern Conference regular season-winning New York Liberty Wednesday night, had already clinched a lottery slot for the third straight season.

But the Mystics dispensed with a thrilling dynamic in which they had been plunging for the last two weeks and seemed destined for a Sunday showdown here with Atlanta that would amount to both a loser and winner take all game.

Either team would be and Atlanta is fourth best in terms of getting the best odds out of the ping pong ball drops, which is coming sooner rather than later on Sept. 24 when the pecking order for the four teams will be announced at halftime during the opener of the best-of-three Eastern Conference final.

Connecticut can do no worse or better than third going in but that may not be the Sun’s ultimate fate thanks to several lottery alterations the WNBA announced several weeks ago.

The move, in part, was made to avoid any team so lustful of landing the top pick from going into tank formation. But it was also made to address what many seemed to be a wrong two seasons ago when Washington finished with the worst record but was unable after the summer of 2012 to land any of three jewels – Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Elena Delle Done (Chicago Sky), and Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock) – thus getting the fourth slot.

This time around if the team with the worst record does not get to choose first or second, they will automatically get the right to pick third, thus bumping Connecticut unless the Sun manages to get the first or second pick.

Of course, nothing is ultimately decided until the ping pong balls do their thing so on lotto night, Connecticut with the third best odds could still be announced fourth.

The draft will be next April, possibly at the Mohegan Sun again for the third straight year in Uncasville, Conn, the home of the Sun, but with ESPN’s new studios in place on the TV sports giant’s campus, the selections could return to Bristol, Conn.

The other change, which now goes into play with all four teams determined, is the odds will be based on the records of last season and this and because of that a horserace continues to at least Friday night.

In the old world, the Texans would have locked the best odds, but with the combined two-year records and updating with Tuesday’s games, Seattle has the edge with the lotto standings looking like this:

Seattle 45-21
San Ant. 44-23
Conn. 39-27
Atl. 33-32

The Storm, who threatened Minnesota, host the Lynx Friday night and could clinch the top spot with a loss but if not, they will have to do it Sunday night hosting San Antonio or the teams could finished tied.

Based on the past, ties have resulted in odds being shared by the teams involved though one wonders whether a new wrinkle might emerge in lieu of all the moves Tuesday announced by the NBA in its playoff seedings.

If so, head-to-head could break the tie with the question left in that regard as to whether a two- or one-year head-to-head would lead to the 1-2 order of the top odds.

So that is where we are but before leaving you with the stats below, directly below and carried over from the last post are the ways Connecticut gets bumped and other shuffles if the team with the worst record doesn’t land in either of the top two spots.

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

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

Slide For Stewie Standings
(Thru Tues., Sept. 8)
Team L W *-GBO *-GBL MNL

%-San Ant. 26-7 -- --
%-Seattle 23-9 2.5 -- --
%-Atlanta 18-13 7.0 --
%-Conn. 18-14 7.5 -- --

*- 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 Tues.., Sept. 8)

%-Seattle 45-21 -- -- Remain-2
%-San Ant. 44-23 1.5 – Remain-1
%-Conn. 39-27 6.0 – -- Remain-2
Atlanta 33-32 11.5 – Remain-3

%-Clinched 2016 Lottery Draw

Remaining Games Among Lottery Teams
(Thru Tues., Sept. 8)

Seattle 45-21 (2) Minn-Fri; !-San Antonio-Sun

San Ant. 44-23 (1) !-@Seattle-Sun

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

Atl 33-32 (3) LA-Wed; Ind-Fri; @-Wash-Sun

!-A head-to-head Stewie game.

Results Five Points Or Less
Most Recent at Top Thru Tues., Sept. 8
!-Games Against Other Lottery Contenders
(Playoff teams being retained for end of season analysis)

Washington 76, Indiana 72, ovt.
New York 75, Minnesota 71
!-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
Atlanta 8-3
Connecticut 5-5

Reverse Close Game Performance Against Other Lottery Contenders

Team L W

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

Reverse Overall Performance Against Other Lottery Contenders

San Antonio 11-4 1
Connecticut 4-9 0
Seattle 6-7 1
Atlanta 4-4 1

GMRL-Games Remaining Against Lottery Contenders

That’s it for now.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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