Welcome back to another week of trying to figure out the WNBA playoff picture. Last week's postseason primer broke down the format and the number of qualifiers. This week, we’re checking on each team still trying to make the playoffs and the path to get there.
The Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces, Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics have already clinched their places in the postseason. The Dallas Wings clinched a playoff berth on Monday night with a win over the New York Liberty. The Indiana Fever have been mathematically eliminated.
Two spots remain in the final week of the regular season, with these five teams in postseason contention.
7. Atlanta Dream (14-19)
After a hot start to the season, the Dream found themselves dealing with, quite frankly, a ridiculous amount of injuries. Still, the play of Rookie of the Year candidate Rhyne Howard and veterans Cheyenne Parker and Erica Wheeler have Atlanta in position to make the playoffs.
The Dream finish the season with a trip to Las Vegas to play the Aces and then home and away games against the Liberty. Based on tiebreakers, Atlanta is in the strongest position of the remaining teams, holding the advantage over everyone except the Minnesota Lynx.
8. Phoenix Mercury (14-19)
The big news out of Phoenix last weekend was Diana Taurasi's season-ending calf injury. Not having DT doesn’t mean the Mercury are doomed, though, as Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diamond DeShields have played well down the stretch.
Phoenix welcomes Minnesota, one of its biggest rivals for a playoff spot, on Wednesday night. After that, the Mercury play Dallas and finish the season at home against Chicago.
9. Minnesota Lynx (13-20)
Sylvia Fowles’ last season in Minnesota has been far from perfect, as the team has struggled to find any momentum while battling injuries. However, the Lynx have won three of their last four games and now have Napheesa Collier back from maternity leave to bolster their playoff push.
The downside for Minnesota is a tough schedule, arguably the most difficult of the teams fighting for the postseason. The Lynx go to Phoenix on Wednesday, return to Minnesota to face the Storm on Friday (in what could be Fowles’ final home game) and then go to Connecticut for Sunday's season finale. All of that travel could be a factor.
10. New York Liberty (13-20)
The Liberty’s season started with seven straight losses, so the fact that they’re in the playoff race at all shows just how good the team has been in the last month. Sabrina Ionescu became the first player in WNBA history to record 500 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists in a single season, and New York finally has Betnijah Laney back after she’s battled injuries all year long.
The Liberty have road games in Dallas on Wednesday and in Atlanta on Friday before hosting the Dream in Sunday's finale.
11. Los Angeles Sparks (13-20)
After a tumultuous season that has seen the departures of head coach Derek Fisher and star free agent Liz Cambage, the Sparks are on the outside looking in. New York and Atlanta hold tiebreakers over Los Angeles, which has a tough schedule in the final week.
The Sparks will play Connecticut twice and finish the season against Dallas. To get into the postseason, L.A. would need to win out and get some help from other teams.