As Final Day of WNBA Season Rolls Around, Seeding Still to be Determined...

By Michael Vesci
Aug. 19, 2018

Today is the final day of the 2018 Women's National Basketball Association regular season. While the Dallas Wings locked up the final playoff spot this past Friday with a win over the Las Vegas Aces, teams are still battling for seeding which could determine when and who they play. Under the current format, the five through eight seeds battle it out in a single-elimination round before the winners are reseeded to face the three and four seeds in another single-elimination game. The top two seeds, who got a bye to the semifinals, face the winners of round two in a best-of-5 series who are also reseeded before playing. With that being said, let us take a look at the scenarios for each team as the season comes to an end.

Seattle Storm

Current Seed: #1

Highest Seed Possible: #1

Lowest Seed Possible: #1

Final Game Against: vs. Dallas Wings (7:00 PM EST)

The Seattle Storm are playing for nothing on Sunday night. They have already locked up the top seed in the WNBA Playoffs seeing they are ahead of the Atlanta Dream by three games in the standings which will give them a bye to the semifinals. They can simply rest their stars like Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart against the Dallas Wings to avoid injury since the game is meaningless for them.

Scenarios: None.

Atlanta Dream

Current Seed: #2

Highest Seed Possible: #2

Lowest Seed Possible: #3

Final Game Against: @ Las Vegas Aces (6:00 PM EST)

Despite being winners in 14 of their last 16 games, the Atlanta Dream could still manage to find themselves slipping out of a bye to the semifinals and into a single-elimination game in the second round of the playoffs. After losing to the Phoenix Mercury on Friday, the Dream is tied with the Washington Mystics with a record of 22-11. With the division title and a semifinal bye on the line, the Dream has a lot to play for on Sunday against an Aces team that looks to play spoiler on Atlanta's playoff seeding. Luckily for the Dream, they own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Mystics having won two of their three matchups against them this season.

Scenarios: #2 Seed with: ATL win OR WSH loss

#3 Seed with: ATL loss + WSH win

Washington Mystics

Current Seed: #3

Highest Seed Possible: #2

Lowest Seed Possible: #3

Final Game Against: @ Minnesota Lynx (7:00 PM EST)

Similar to the Dream, the Washington Mystics have been hot as they march towards the playoffs. After a hot start to the season which saw them start 5-1, the Mystics went 9-10 over the course of their next 19 games to reach a mark of 14-11. However, since then the team has won eight in a row, including the forfeit win against Las Vegas, to move to 22-11. With one meaningful game left against the playoff-bound Minnesota Lynx, the Mystics are looking to move into a top two spot and get a bye to the semifinals. They are currently tied with the aforementioned Atlanta Dream and do not hold the head-to-head tiebreaker which means they will need some help.

Scenarios: #2 Seed with: WAS win + ATL loss

#3 Seed with: ATL win OR ATL loss + WAS loss

Connecticut Sun

Current Seed: #4

Highest Seed Possible: #4

Lowest Seed Possible: #6

Final Game Against: vs. Los Angeles Sparks (3:00 PM EST)

The Connecticut Sun have a lot at stake in the final day of the regular season. After a 7-1 start to their season, the Sun stumbled a bit and hovered around .500 for the middle part of the regular season. However similar to the other teams towards the top of the standings, they have turned it around and won eight of their last nine games. They are 6-1 in the month of August, including 5-0 at home, but face a huge matchup against the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday afternoon. Currently holding a first-round bye, the Sun's 20-13 record put them one game ahead of the Sparks and Phoenix Mercury who both sit at 19-14. While Connecticut already clinched the head-to-head tiebreaker against Los Angeles after beating them twice earlier this year, a loss could put them in a three-way tie with the Mercury as well. When it comes to a three-way tie, the tiebreaker is record against .500 or better teams, Connecticut is 8-11 which is worst amongst the three teams. The pressure is on for the Sun to continue to shine, lock up a first-round bye, and avoid a first-round playoff game on the road.

Scenarios: #4 Seed with: CON win OR PHX loss

#6 Seed with: CON loss + LAS win and PHX win

Los Angeles Sparks

Current Seed: #5

Highest Seed Possible: #4

Lowest Seed Possible: #6

Final Game Against: @ Connecticut Sun (3:00 PM EST)

Just like the Sun, the Los Angeles Sparks have a lot at stake on Sunday. The Sparks have a chance to move up to the four seed in the playoffs which would ensure a first-round bye and a home playoff game in the second round. Los Angeles had a chance to control its own destiny heading into the final game of the regular season but suffered a loss at the hands of the Washington Mystic on Friday which dropped them into a tie with the Phoenix Mercury who won on Friday for the fifth seed in the playoffs. Now they will have to face the Sun and get some help from that Mercury team if they want to avoid the first round of the playoffs and get a home playoff game. With a 0-2 record against the Sun this season, now would be the perfect time for the Sparks to get a win when they need it the most. In the event of the aforementioned three-way tie, the Sparks own the best record against .500 teams or better at 9-10 which gives them the advantage should they win along with Phoenix.

Scenarios: #4 Seed with: LAS win + CON loss and PHX win

#5 Seed with: PHX loss

#6 Seed with: LAS loss + PHX win

Phoenix Mercury

Current Seed: #6

Highest Seed Possible: #5

Lowest Seed Possible: #6

Final Game Against: vs. New York Liberty (6:00 PM EST)

Winners of their last three games, the Phoenix Mercury still have a chance to improve their playoff seeding a little but will be unable to earn a first-round playoff bye regardless of Sunday's outcomes. They are guaranteed to have a home playoff game in round one of the WNBA Playoffs, but should the Mercury advance to the second round they would have to go on the road to face the #3 or #4 seed. Phoenix does not own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Sparks having lost two of the three matchups and has an 8-10 record against .500 or better teams which puts them at the middle of the pack if a three-way tiebreaker occurred. However, that 8-10 record against .500 or better teams is better than Connecticut's 8-11 record which means regardless of the outcome of Sun-Sparks, all the Mercury have to do is win to boost themselves to the #5 seed. This is because if Los Angeles wins against Connecticut and Phoenix beats New York, the Mercury finish tied with the Sun at 20-14, Phoenix owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Connecticut (2-1) putting them ahead of them in the standings. The only thing that can hurt the Mercury is if they come out and lose to the New York Liberty on Sunday.

Scenarios: #5 Seed with: LAS win + PHX win OR CON win + PHX win

#6 Seed with: PHX loss

Minnesota Lynx

Current Seed: #7

Highest Seed Possible: #7

Lowest Seed Possible: #7

Final Game Against: vs. Washington Mystics (7:00 PM EST)

The defending-champion Minnesota Lynx have struggled this season to a record of 17-16. They have been playing .500 ball for most of the season and after it looked like they were about to get hot after winning four in a row, they stumbled in August to a record of 2-6 for the month. However, all that matters is they are in the playoffs and have a chance to make some noise. While the team cannot improve their playoff seeding at all and will have to take their talents on the road for the first round of the playoffs, they can play spoiler against the Washington Mystics. Should Minnesota win, they would eliminate any hope of Washington getting a top two seed and a bye to the semifinals. Given their current slump as well, the Lynx likely would like to right the ship heading into the playoffs against a team they could potentially face later on in them.

Scenarios: None.

Dallas Wings

Current Seed: #8

Highest Seed Possible: #8

Lowest Seed Possible: #8

Final Game Against: @ Seattle Storm (7:00 PM EST)

After being one of the hottest teams in the WNBA earlier this season to the tune of seven wins in eight games to propel themselves to a 14-9 record, the Dallas Wings were terrible. Losers in nine in a row, the Dallas Wings were on the brink of an epic collapse. They fired their head coach Fred Williams in the midst of the skid after he had an altercation with the team's CEO and had not won a game since July 19th. Their only saving graces may have been had the hands of the team hot on their tails, the Las Vegas Aces. The Aces were forced to forfeit a game after not showing up due to travel issues, did not own the tiebreaker against Dallas, and lost five in a row (including the forfeit) over the course of their last eight games to pull even with the Wings after trailing by just three games when Dallas began their skid. This all culminated in the two teams meeting on Friday in which the Wings beat the Aces for the third time this season by a final of 107-102 to clinch the final postseason spot. While it certainly was not pretty, the Wings found a way to get in and now have a chance to make a splash in the playoffs. Their 15-18 record puts them in the #8 seed without any way to improve seeing they are two games back of Minnesota in the #7 slot.

Scenarios: None.

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