The Lynx demolished the Chicago Sky last night, moving to 16-13. They are now in sixth place in the WNBA, but just two games out of third place. Things around the league actually broke in the Lynx’s favor fairly well last night, with a few teams that are neck-in-neck with Minnesota taking losses.
The good news is that the Lynx are now in sole possession of the No. 6 seed, which would give them home court advantage in a first-round elimination game. The bad news is that many other teams want to be in that spot. Let’s take a look at last night’s action:
Balanced Dream Scoring Effort Too Much For Aces
The Dream are typically known as a defensive team, but Tuesday night saw quite the offensive show in Atlanta. With four different players scoring more than 20 points, the Dream beat the Aces in an absolute shootout, winning 109-100 and clinching a playoff spot. Atlanta also blocked 14 Aces shot attempts—a franchise high. Atlanta didn’t make the playoffs last year, so this is quite a turnaround for the squad.
It wasn’t all positive for the Dream though. Angel McCoughtry went down with a left knee injury in the fourth quarter, and though the injury isn’t believed to be serious, it’s a story to watch going forward. McCoughtry has been a key part to the Dream’s resurgence this year, and her missing significant time will make holding on to that top two seed more difficult.
On the Aces’ side, this was a game they badly needed to win. At 12-17, they’re 2.5 games out of a playoff spot, and don’t control their own destiny. The Aces have a bright future, but it’s looking more and more like they’ll have to wait until next year to play in the postseason. That’s good news for the Lynx and the rest of the teams still fighting for position. With the Aces dropping, the eight teams that will make the postseason look relatively clear (the Sparks also clinched with the Vegas loss)—the question now is positioning.
Mystics Defeat Mercury, Clinch Playoff Spot
Speaking of playoff positioning, this was a big one. Behind 30 points from Elena Delle Donne, the Mystics beat the Mercury 103-98 despite a monster effort from Brittney Griner. Griner had 35 points with 11 rebounds, Diana Taurasi had 29 and DeWanna Bonner had 20, but Phoenix couldn’t get enough help from the rest of their roster to get the victory.
With Phoenix’s loss and Minnesota’s win, the Lynx now hold a half-game lead on the Mercury for sixth-place in the league. The Lynx play the Mystics in their last game of the season, so if they can pull a bit closer in the interim, that contest could be an excellent opportunity to grab a higher playoff seed.