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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The race for the WNBA playoffs still going strong in the final week

The race for the WNBA playoffs still going strong in the final week

With one week left in the WNBA regular season, as far as the post-season go, there’s still a lot to be decided.

Six teams have made it to the playoffs starting next week, although no seeds have yet been sealed.

Chicago is in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall seed, needing a combination of just two more wins or a Las Vegas loss to seal a home-court advantage through the playoffs. The defending champions are looking to be the first to repeat since Los Angeles did so in 2001–02.

2 seed in their semi-final series and a potential homecourt if both progress. Seattle and Washington are seated a half game apart in the fourth and fifth seeded standings.

Dallas may be the only team that has really locked in their spot, securing a playoff berth on Monday night. Wings has won five straight and will most likely be seeded sixth.

The last two places are completely up for grabs, with five teams vying for them. Only one game separates seventh-place Atlanta from No. 11 Los Angeles, with all five teams to play three games each this week.

This week’s WNBA poll:

1. Chicago (25-8): The Sky lead 14-3 at home this season – the league’s best record – and look in a good place to repeat as champions.

2. Las Vegas (23-10): Coach Becky Hyman returns Dierika Hamby to the bench and tries to get the league’s perennial sixth woman back into her comfort zone.

3. Connecticut (22-11): The Sun added Odyssey Sims for a stretch run and he already made an immediate impact by giving Connecticut another strong defensive guard.

4. Seattle (20-13): The Storm lost last regular season to Sue Bird Home games, but have bigger goals in mind and getting the No. 4 seed will definitely help them.

5. Washington (20-14): The Mystics made two consecutive drops and could not hold the tiebreaker with the Storm, so they would need to be ahead of them in the standings to earn homecourt in the opening round.

6. Dallas (17-16): The Wings have been playing their best basketball for the past two weeks and are doing it for the most part without Eric Ogunbowale, who was sidelined by an ankle injury and then a hip problem Is.

7. Minnesota (13-20): The Lynx got a much-needed boost with the return of Nefisa Collier, who was back on the team less than three months after giving birth to daughter Mila.

8. Phoenix (14-19): Mercury’s probable run to the playoffs would be without star Diana Taurasi, who would have missed the final week of the season with a quad injury, which was sidelined in the last few matches

9. Atlanta (14-19): The Dream had one of the biggest improvements from last season and two wins in their last three games would double their win totals from last year.

10. NEW YORK (13-20): Liberty missed crucial games for Phoenix and Dallas and would need to win at least two of their last three games to have a chance to make the postseason for the second year in a row.

11. Los Angeles (13-20): A win over Washington to cap off a tough East Coast trip kept the Sparks’ playoff hopes alive.

12. Indiana (5-29): The Fever would love to win one of their final two games and end a 16-game skid and carry some positive momentum into the off-season.

player of the week

Dallas’ Teyra McCowan was named Associated Press Player of the Week. He averaged 18.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, and shot 56% from the field to help the Wings win all four of his games. Raine Howard of Atlanta and Sabrina Ionescu of New York also received votes.

travel crisis

The road trip to the Los Angeles Sparks had a difficult ending, being stuck at Washington airport overnight after their flight was delayed a few times and eventually cancelled.

WNBA Players Association President Neneka Ogwumike took to social media Early on Monday morning to shed light on the problem and then called on the league to come up with a solution going forward.

“We reiterate our abiding invitation to league and team ownership to identify a manageable solution to this problem, whose core is complex, but the solution is simple,” Ogwumike wrote. “It is time to allow teams to invest in charter flights between games, starting with the full 2022 WNBA playoffs, and continuing with a common-sense, full-season solution starting in 2023.”

League commissioner Cathy Engelbert has stated several times that the WNBA does not have chartered flights due to prohibitive costs. Engelbert said at the All-Star Game last month that the league would charter flights to the WNBA Finals.

game of the week

Seattle in Minnesota, Friday. A huge game for both teams in their playoff hunt, but also the final regular-season home competition for Sylvia Falls.

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More Associated Press Women’s Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/ Associated Press_Sports

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