Race for top seed in WNBA postseason tightens up with New York closing gap on Las Vegas


NEW YORK (AP) — New York has tightened the gap between itself and Las Vegas for the top seed in the playoffs with just two weeks left in the regular season.

After beating the Aces on Monday night, the Liberty trail Las Vegas by 1 1/2 games. The teams split their four regular season meetings so if they end up tied first place will come down to their winning percentage against other teams who are over .500.

New York is 6-3 against Las Vegas, Connecticut and Dallas — the teams that are above .500. The Liberty still have games left against the Sun and Wings. Las Vegas is 7-4 against those same teams.

The schedule favors the Aces with three of their four remaining games at home, where they’ve only lost one regular season game. New York has five games left with two on the road and three at home.

New York would like homecourt advantage but the Liberty are confident if they don’t get the top seed; they have won 15 of 18 away from Barclays Center. That doesn’t include the victory at Las Vegas for the Commissioner’s Cup title.

“We’ve been a really good road team,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said.

It’s not just bunched up top with virtually every playoff spot still up for grabs. Only three games separate fifth place Minnesota and ninth place Chicago.


New York received 10 of the 11 first place votes Tuesday to remain in first place. The Aces were right behind in second. Connecticut, Dallas and Minnesota followed Las Vegas. Los Angeles, Washington and Atlanta were the next three. Chicago, Indiana, Seattle and Phoenix rounded out the poll.


Alyssa Thomas had an impressive week for Connecticut, averaging 20.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists to help the Sun win two of their three games. Other players receiving votes included New York’s Breanna Stewart, Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson, Indiana’s Kelsey Mitchell and Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier.


The Phoenix Mercury saw their 10-year run of making the playoffs end last Sunday. The Mercury last missed the postseason in 2012 — the year before they drafted Brittney Griner No. 1. It was tied for the second longest streak ever, one behind Minnesota’s record run of 11 straight.

“It was a season that was not ideal,” interim coach Nikki Blue said. “However, we still have a couple games left, so our season is not over yet. Although we might miss the playoffs this year, we still are going to focus on winning these next couple games.”

Seattle also saw its seven-year run of making the playoffs end on Sunday as well. Connecticut now has the longest active streak with six in a row.


Atlanta at Minnesota, Friday. The Dream have lost three straight and still only sit a game behind the Lynx for the fifth playoff spot.


AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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