Tuesday night brought complete clarity to the WNBA playoff races, didn’t it? It’s all so easy to figure out at this point, right?
Now we have four teams in the East with 14 victories. Just perfect. Detroit bounced back from a tough overtime loss at San Antonio by beating West leader Phoenix. In Sacramento, Connecticut dropped another game it couldn’t afford to lose.
Atlanta gave itself a little breathing room in second place in the East thanks to a surprising win at Los Angeles. I say “surprising” considering the Dream still doesn’t have Chamique Holdsclaw, Atlanta had just been through difficult defeats against Detroit and Seattle, and the Sparks have been playing very well.
I didn’t see the Dream pulling this one off. Who did? But with the win, Atlanta moves to 16-14 and edges closer to securing a postseason spot. And what a fantastic story that is.
Meanwhile, Seattle beat New York despite Lauren Jackson’s worrisome absence due to injury. It doesn’t quite put the final stake in the Liberty, but New York is clearly in a lot of trouble at 12-18.
But the game of the night was, as expected, Minnesota at San Antonio. It was an evening to honor the retiring Silver Stars veteran Vickie Johnson, who scored 17 points. And don’t we all wish, if we had our our own “night,” that we would have a buddy like Becky Hammon to make sure it didn’t go bad?
Hammon did it again Tuesday, making for back-t0-back amazing performances. She had 32 points in Saturday’s overtime win against Detroit, then 29 in double overtime against the Lynx. The 84-82 win nudges San Antonio back into the final playoff spot with a 13-17 mark; Minnesota is at 12-18 and Sacto at 11-20.
Gee, now all the Silver Stars have to do is beat LA twice, then hold off Sacto and Seattle. Sheesh. Meanwhile, the Lynx have Seattle, Detroit, LA and Sacto left.
Tonight, thought, we can take a break from our standings gawking and just concentrate on the “battle of the bests:” Phoenix faces Indiana at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Fever won the first meeting, 90-83, on Aug. 8 in Phoenix. Considering the Mercury just gave up 101 points in its loss at Detroit, look for Phoenix to try to toughen up its defense, especially on the interior, tonight against Indy.