2016 WNBA Recap – Season Resumes Friday

The Rio Olympics ended over the weekend. The WNBA will soon resume its schedule.

Team America dominated women’s basketball at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, and all will now head back to join their respective club teams in the WNBA. Since the association’s standings have been paused for a over a month, perhaps a recap of where things stand as play resumes is in order.

The two best teams so far in the WNBA are the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx. Both teams, with 21-3 and 21-4 respective records, have already clinched playoff berths. The New York Liberty and the Atlanta Dream are behind them with respective 18-8 and 13-12 records to date.

With 34 games to be played in each team’s season, there’s still a lot that can change. One team that will be looking at trying to get into a better post-season position is Phoenix. The Mercury were actually one of the betting favorites heading into the regular season, however as play resumes they are just a disappointing 10-14 – good enough for 7th place.

There are four teams behind them, namely Washington, Seattle, Dallas, and Connecticut, that have either 8 or 9 wins. Those teams, including Phoenix, are all on the bubble as play resumes with the teams above them looking very safe for the post-season. The only team that is really out of the picture at this point is San Antonio, the Stars at 5-18 with 11 games to be played still.

Standout individual players so far include Tina Charles of the New York Liberty, Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky, and Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks – the three current leaders in scoring averages. Charles and Ogwumike are also among the top-three players in terms of rebounding averages, certainly making them candidates for the MVP award at season’s end.

When it comes to the playoffs, fans should be aware of very key changes between this year and last year. The top eight teams, regardless of which conference they play in, will make the post-season. The number of playoff rounds has increased from three to four with the top-two seeds getting a bye directly into the semifinals. That truly gives a big advantage to the top-two seeds in the WNBA, positions currently held by Los Angeles and Minnesota.

The WNBA schedule resumes on Friday, August 26th with a dense five-game schedule for the day/evening. The remaining schedule is a compact one and it will be concluded on September 18th. By the end of that day, all of the playoff entrants/seeds will be determined.

 

 

 

Shane Lambert