WNBA playoff picture: four teams fighting for one spot

Heading into the penultimate week of the season, seven teams have punched their ticket to the 2020 WNBA Playoffs. With the New York Liberty eliminated from postseason contention, four teams are now vying for the remaining spot in this year’s playoffs.

Some teams have put themselves in a better position than others, but it’s sure to be an exciting conclusion to the regular season. Here’s an update of each team’s final stretch of games, and their playoff prospects ranked in order from least likely to most likely.

Indiana Fever (5-14 record, three games remaining)

After opening their season with a 5-7 record, the Fever lost seven consecutive games and now sit 10th in the league. This stretch has made their playoff qualification a less likely feat, especially with games against the Las Vegas Aces and Minnesota Lynx.

On the bright side, Kelsey Mitchell is averaging 17.5 points per game, while rookie Julie Allemand is tied for second in the WNBA with 5.6 assists per game. Indiana should continue building around them, acquiring complementary players through the draft.

Atlanta Dream (5-14 record, three games remaining)

A strong start in September has given the Dream slim playoff hopes, winning two of three against the Fever and Liberty. However, they have two difficult matchups against the Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun to close out their season in the Wubble.

While their appearance in the postseason is unlikely, the future looks bright for Atlanta based on the respective performances of rookie Chennedy Carter, free-agent signing Betnijah Laney, recent acquisition Courtney Williams and veteran Elizabeth Williams.

Washington Mystics (5-13 record, four games remaining)

Their most recent loss against the Dallas Wings was a huge blow to Washington’s playoff chances, falling short for the sixth time over their previous seven games. The only advantage in the Mystics’ favour is one game in hand on the teams around them.

Washington’s matchups against the Liberty and Dream are winnable, but they’ll also need to defeat the Los Angeles Sparks or Lynx. The defending champions were due for a disappointing season, with numerous crucial players opting out due to COVID-19.

Dallas Wings (7-12 record, three games remaining)

In a tiebreaking scenario with the Mystics, Dallas has given themselves the edge with their most recent victory. This advantage is especially significant because of the Wings’ upcoming games against the Seattle Storm and Chicago Sky to conclude the regular season.

Unless Washington or Atlanta were to win all of their remaining games, one victory for Dallas should be enough to secure the eighth seed in this year’s playoffs. Averaging 22.2 points per game, guard Arike Ogunbowale will likely be in the MVP conversation.

Featured photo: The Dallas Wings are the most likely team to take the final playoff spot. Star player Arike Ogunbowale is a top contender for this year’s league MVP. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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