Baskteball – Power Rankings WNBA: Playoff Race Remains Tight

Updated WNBA Power Rankings Entering the Final Week of the Season

It’s hard to believe but there is only one month remaining in the 2022 WNBA season. The race for the final few playoff spots is just about as tight as it could get with five teams within a game of each other. The only team that has been officially eliminated from the postseason is the Indiana Fever, yet they have continued to play hard over this past week. The Chicago Sky continues to occupy the top spot in the WNBA team standings and will likely stay there for the playoffs unless something goes terribly wrong in this final week. The final two playoff spots are currently occupied by the Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury, but that would easily change in the coming days. Let’s take a look at our Power Rankings WNBA as we close out the regular season.

Chicago Sky

Chicago continues to own the top spot in our Power Rankings WNBA. They’ve been the best WNBA team for the majority of the season and proved that remains true after two big wins over Washington and Connecticut this past week. Guard Kahleah Copper is playing some of her best basketball right now, leading the Sky in scoring in three of their last four games.

The Sky did lose one game last week, falling to the Dallas Wings at home. Chicago outshot Dallas but committed 16 turnovers in that game. The Sky has a tough schedule to finish out the regular season. They play Seattle at home and then hit the road to play the Las Vegas Aces and Phoenix Mercury. They are fully capable of beating all three teams and three-straight wins to end the season would give them plenty of momentum heading into the first round of the playoffs.

Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun earned the No. 2 spot in this week’s Power Rankings WNBA, despite losing two of their last four games. Those two losses both came at the hands of the Chicago Sky. The first loss came in the form of a 95-92 overtime loss at home.

They then earned two wins over the Phoenix Mercury before dropping another close game to Chicago. The Sun lost that one 94-91 in the Windy City.

The Sun will finish out the regular season with a fairly easy slate. They travel to Los Angeles for a two-game series against the Sparks before returning home for their last regular-season matchup against the Minnesota Lynx. Winning out to end the season will put a ton of pressure on Las Vegas who is only up one game on the Sun in the standings.

Las Vegas Aces

The Las Vegas Aces struggled a bit this week, dropping two of their three games. They lost to the Washington Mystics and Dallas Wings. Washington overtook Vegas in the fourth quarter of that game while the Aces climbed back from being down the majority of the game to lose to the Wings by just two.

A missed layup by A’ja Wilson in the final seconds would have sent the game to overtime. Nonetheless, the Aces finished their five-game road trip with a huge win over Seattle despite being underdogs in that game. Wilson put up 29 points and six boards in a dominant performance.

Vegas finishes up this week with games against Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle. They’re only a game up on Connecticut for the No. 2 spot in the standings, so wins over these next three games are crucial.

Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystic started last week on a high note with two big wins over the Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces. However, things went south for Washington after that. They lost to Chicago by 10 without Elena Delle Donne in the lineup and fell to the Sparks by three on Sunday.

Guard Natasha Cloud thought she was fouled on a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game with less than a second left, but no call was made, resulting in a loss. The Mystics should be able to finish the regular season with two straight wins in their final two games, both against the Indiana Fever.

Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm went 1-2 this week with losses against Washington on the road and a home loss to the Las Vegas Aces in what was Sue Bird’s final regular-season home game of her career. Both those losses sandwiched a win over the Minnesota Lynx in which Breana Stewart put up 33 points and eight rebounds.

The Storm currently occupies the fourth seed and will more than likely play the Washington Mystics in the first round of the playoffs odds. They have a tough stretch to finish out the week, with games against Chicago, Minnesota, and Las Vegas.

A strong finish will likely secure home court advantage for Seattle, while losses may slip them into the fifth seed, which in that case would move Washington into the fourth spot, giving them home court advantage.

Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings are on a roll and are playing some of their best basketball right now. They’ve won 5 of their last six games including four straight. Their wins over the last week were huge, beating the Chicago Sky and Los Vegas Aces outright. Both wins over Chicago and Las Vegas also came without the Wings’ top player Arike Ogunbowale in the lineup due to an ankle injury.

She was back on the court for Dallas’ game against the Fever which they won in overtime. Dallas is playing with plenty of confidence and motivation right now and is looking like a team that could make a deep run in the playoffs.

Remaining Two Playoff Spots

The first five aforementioned teams have each clinched a playoff spot. Dallas has yet to officially secure a spot but should comfortably earn the sixth seed being they’re 2.5 games up on the Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury who occupy the seventh and eighth seeds. While Atlanta and Phoenix are currently in the playoff picture, that could very easily change after this week.

The final two spots in the WNBA teams standings will quite literally come down to the final game of the regular season. New York sits in the 9th spot and is only a half-game back on Phoenix. Minnesota and Los Angeles are both tied for the 10th and 11th spots but are only one game out of the playoff picture. With two of their last three games against the Sun, it’s going to be tough for the Sparks to make the postseason.

The same goes for Minnesota who will face Phoenix, Seattle, and Connecticut to close out the season. The Liberty have four games left and all of them are extremely important. They play the Wings twice and the Dream twice. Wins over Atlanta could move the Dream out of the playoff picture and New York into it.

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