WNBA playoff picture – Which teams will earn the final three playoff spots?

The WNBA has been break up into its prime 5 and all people else for some time. The defending champion Chicago Sky, the Las Vegas Aces, the Connecticut Sun, the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics have already secured their playoff berths. Now with six teams competing for the three spots left — the Indiana Fever are in spoiler mode — each sport has a heavier really feel to it.

In fact, it is beginning to really feel like 5 teams going for 2 spots. Things are trying good for the sixth-place Dallas Wings. They go into the weekend on a excessive, coming off again-to-again victories over the Sky and the Aces, the league’s present prime two teams.

Dallas has received 4 of its previous 5 video games and is 15-16. The franchise has completed at .500 or higher simply as soon as since shifting from Detroit after the 2009 season. That was in its final of six seasons in Tulsa, when it went 18-16 in 2015. The subsequent yr, the group moved to Dallas and has made three playoff appearances since, together with final season, however misplaced its first-spherical sport every time .

The Wings have had some tough patches this season, together with shedding six of seven throughout a stretch from late May to mid-June. But Dallas’ March commerce with Indiana for middle Teaira McCowan and a primary-spherical draft choose, which grew to become guard Veronica Burton, has turned out nicely for Dallas.

It took a short while for McCowan, the No. 3 total picks in 2019, to get warmed up; she did not rating in double figures till June 12. But she has now performed that in 10 of her previous 14 video games, together with the previous 5 in a row.

“I’m happy with Big T — the manner she’s performing is big,” Dallas coach Vickie Johnson mentioned after McCowan’s 21 factors and 16 rebounds Thursday in opposition to the Aces.

Burton and Tyasha Harris each stepped ahead the previous two video games to assist make up for the absence of star guard Arike Ogunbowale, who has an ankle damage. No one would have predicted that the Wings would beat the Sky and Aces with Ogunbowale sidelined, however that is what makes playoff races thrilling.

How teams compete over the subsequent 10 days will make the distinction between shifting on to the postseason — which this yr is again to having a full sequence in each spherical as an alternative of single-elimination video games in the first two rounds — and being in the draft lottery.

Let’s check out what’s at stake on this weekend’s video games, each for teams attempting to safe a playoff spot and those that are already in the postseason however need to preserve or enhance their seeding.

Friday

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Atlanta’s Rhyne Howard comes up with an enormous block on the defensive finish after which capitalizes on the different with a jumper.

Sparks at Dream; Mystics at Sky: There’s no technique to sugarcoat it: The Los Angeles Sparks’ season has taken a nosedive, as they’ve misplaced 5 in a row. According to ESPN’s BPI projections, Los Angeles’ hopes of constructing the postseason have fallen to 10.3%. If the Sparks miss the playoffs, it will be the first time since the WNBA’s first two seasons — 1997-98 — that Los Angeles has performed that two years in a row. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Dream are projected to have a 56.2% probability of getting a playoff berth. That might sound excessive for a group that has misplaced seven of its previous 10, however at 13-18, the Dream and the Liberty presently declare the final two playoff spots. Atlanta has not been in the postseason since 2018.

Washington has the similar 20-12 document as Seattle and has performed nicely since the All-Star Game, profitable six of eight. Elena Delle Donne has had quite a bit to do with that, however she will not be touring to Chicago as a part of her relaxation regime. The Sky are coming off a loss to Dallas, however they’ve received seven of 9 since the All-Star Game. Chicago has 5 video games left, 4 in opposition to teams which have already clinched their playoff spots. The Sky, after all, are taking part in to have residence-court docket benefit all through the postseason.

Saturday

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Skylar Diggins-Smith discusses the problem in taking part in after Brittney Griner’s sentencing was introduced.

Fever at Wings; Liberty at Mercury:

Johnson made it clear that the final thing the Wings are doing is overlooking Indiana, even when the Fever have misplaced 15 video games in a row. Indiana has 5 video games left, two of them in opposition to the Wings. Dallas began a 4-sport residence stand Thursday in opposition to the Aces, and this sport in opposition to Indiana is one which the Wings merely cannot let get away.

The Mercury end the common season with 4 video games in Phoenix at Footprint Center, the place they’re 9-5 vs. 4-14 on the highway. After an emotional loss at Connecticut on Thursday following the information of Brittney Griner’s sentencing in Russia, Phoenix wants a powerful end to make the playoffs. The odds are with the Mercury, who’re projected to have a 62.7% probability at the postseason.

Diana Taurasi (proper quad) didn’t play Thursday, the first sport she has missed this season.

“She is each day; we’re hopeful to get her again quickly,” Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard mentioned. “We are glad to be returning to Phoenix. We have performed significantly better at residence than now we have on the highway this season. Three of the video games are in opposition to teams we’re competing with for these final playoff spots.”

That consists of Saturday’s opponent, the New York Liberty, who’ve gone about resurrecting their playoff hopes by profitable three in a row and 4 of their final 5. That has moved the Liberty’s playoff odds as much as 48.2%.

Sunday

Sun at Sky; Sparks at Mystics; Aces at Storm; Dream at Lynx: The doubleheader on ABC begins at 1 pm ET with Connecticut-Chicago, adopted by Las Vegas-Seattle. The latter will be Sue Bird’s final common-season residence sport after 19 seasons with the Storm, and it’s a sellout. The Aces proper now have the second-greatest probability to win the league title in response to BPI (28%), however they’re coming off again-to-again losses earlier than strolling into Sunday’s Bird nostalgia present.

Which group initiatives as most probably to win the championship? The Sun at 34.5%. Connecticut, tied with Las Vegas at 22-10 in the WNBA standings, is looking for its first league title, as are the Aces. The Sun had the league’s greatest document final season, however then they have been defeated in the semifinals by Chicago. They Sky have continued to have Connecticut’s quantity this season, profitable their first three matchups.

The Sparks, as talked about, have been fading quick and should tackle the Mystics, who’ve been getting into the wrong way. Los Angeles will be ending a stretch of six of seven on the highway.

Finally, the Minnesota Lynx — who needed to endure a quick break clinic at Seattle on Wednesday — are 12-20 with simply 4 video games left. Minnesota has not missed the playoffs since 2010, however the Lynx have only a 25.9% probability of constructing the postseason this yr, in response to projections.

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