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WNBA teams ready for the sprint to the end of the regular season, the playoffs

WNBA teams are ready to sprint to the end when there is a month left for the regular season.

Since most teams have about a dozen games left and 11 of the 12 franchises in the playoff hunt, it should be about an exciting final five weeks.

Only three games separate the top five teams: Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, Connecticut and Washington. Unlike the previous five years in which finishing first or second meant a layoff in the playoff semifinals, the WNBA has changed its postseason format this season to a more traditional group.

Still, having a first four in a row means hosting the first two games of the first round to the best of three, and potentially not having to play a road game to advance.

Chicago, which again leads the AP WNBA poll this week, has been the hottest team in the league, winning eight of its last 10 games. That stretch helped Sky secure the home track in the Commissioner’s Cup championship game on July 26 against Las Vegas.

Announcement

The Aces struggled toward the All-Star break, dropping five of their last seven games. Las Vegas begins its trajectory with a three-part road trip that begins in New York.

Seattle, Connecticut and Washington are all behind the top two teams.

POWER SURVEY

This week’s WNBA poll:

1. Chicago (16-6): The Sky had a busy weekend hosting the All-Star Game with half of their players involved in the festivities. This week they play three games, including two on the road.

2. Las Vegas (15-7): The Aces gave up the stretch with three games on the road this week without much rest after four of the Las Vegas starters played in the All-Star Game.

3. Seattle (15-8): The Storm hosts Dallas and Indiana this week and seeks to maintain the momentum it had before the All-Star break. Seattle has won seven of its last 10 games.

4 (tie). Connecticut (14-8): Consistency is what the Sun is looking for, as they have struggled to put together a series of wins since winning four in a row to start June.

Announcement

4 (tie). Washington (14-10): The Mystics are 11-4 when Elena Delle Donne plays and 3-6 without her. Washington will play on both sides of the country this week with games in Los Angeles, Phoenix and then at home against Minnesota on Sunday.

6 (tie). Los Angeles (10-12): The Sparks are playing well lately behind Nneka Ogwumike’s strong play. To get to the top half of the standings, they will need their guards to regain health, as Brittney Sykes, Kristi Toliver and Jordin Canada lost time with injuries.

6 (tie). Atlanta (10-12): The Dream has a big week ahead with games against Chicago, Connecticut and Phoenix, as Atlanta can help consolidate a playoff spot.

8. New York (9-13): Liberty will face Las Vegas twice this week after last week’s offensive showcase that saw teams combine for 223 points in a New York victory.

9. Minnesota (8-15): A strong final before the All-Star break caused the Lynx to play the playoffs again. Minnesota has a year in the postseason since losing the playoffs in 2010.

Announcement

10. Phoenix (10-14): This was not the season the Mercury imagined earlier this year. With the absence of Brittney Griner on the team and Tina Charles now in Seattle, it has been a challenging season for Phoenix.

11. Dallas (10-12): The All-Star’s break allowed Satou Sabally a few more days to regain his strength and will be key for the Wings to give a boost to the playoffs. He was out most of June with a knee injury before returning in early July.

12. Indiana (5-19): Six straight losses have Fever at the bottom of the standings, but the future looks good with strong play from rookies NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Sabrina Ionescu of New York was chosen the player of the week of the AP. She averaged 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists to help Liberty split their games last week. Aerial Powers of Minnesota and Breanna Stewart of Seattle also received votes.

Announcement

GRINER UPDATE

Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession charges at her trial last week. He will be back in court on Thursday. The WNBA recognized Griner at the All-Star weekend by announcing her as an honorary starter while all players wore jerseys with her name and number on the back during the second half of the game. Game MVP Kelsey Plum dedicated her award to the Mercury Center.

GAME OF THE WEEK:

Las Vegas in Connecticut, Sunday. The Aces close out their three-game trip to the Sun.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



WNBA teams ready for the sprint to the end of the regular season, the playoffs

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