As the WNBA regular season nears its end, five teams amongst the 12 teams have already clinched a spot in the playoffs: the Seattle Storm, Las Vegas Aces, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky. The remaining seven teams are in fierce competition for the final three spots.
The defending champion Washington Mystics open up the weekend against the Sky as they attempt to put an end to their five-game losing streak. The previous matchup between the two teams ended in a two-point margin, as Diamond DeShields found Cheyenne Parker in the paint with 5.9 seconds remaining for a three-foot jumper to put the Sky on top. Head coach James Wade allowed for an equal distribution of minutes amongst his players, while the Mystics relied heavily on their starters, especially two-year veteran Ariel Atkins.
In a weekend packed with nine games, the Storm and the Sparks will meet for the second time this season. Although both teams secured their spots in the playoffs, either the two teams will tie their records or the Storm will put themselves ahead. In their previous meeting the Storm never trailed.
On Saturday afternoon, the 2019 runner-up Connecticut Sun will face the Indiana Fever, who they beat in early August.
With six games left in their regular season, the New York Liberty is struggling this season. While there is still hope to finish strong and on a better note than their current situation, a lot has to change if the Liberty expect a spot in the playoffs, starting with their matchup against the Phoenix Mercury, who beat them by 29 points at the start of the season.
The Mystic’s second game is scheduled against the Dallas Wings, who beat them in overtime in their last battle against one another. Wings guard Arike Ogunbawale assisted her teammates in creating opportunities on the floor, which not only converted to easy baskets but also chances at the foul line. Finishing with a nine-point lead, eight points were made from the free throw line within last 30 seconds of the game. The Mystics cannot afford to give up easy scoring opportunities against such a talented group.
Several top teams have a shot at redemption against previous competitors. The Lynx will have a chance to take on the Storm again, while the Sparks will close out the weekend to the team that gave it its first loss of the season, the Chicago Sky.
IMG Academy is sure to be filled with strong competition, and whether a team’s spot is secured in the playoffs or not, there is fight in all of the teams to contradict the record.