With a week left in the 2020 WNBA regular season the playoff picture is nearly set. Going into Tuesday, seven of the eight spots in the postseason field have been claimed by WNBA teams, including the Minnesota Lynx.
The Seattle Storm (16-3), Las Vegas Aces (14-4), Los Angeles Sparks (14-5), Lynx (13-6), Phoenix Mercury (12-8), Chicago Sky (11-9) and Connecticut Sun (10-10) have clinched playoff berths. With one spot remaining, the fight for the eighth seed is heating up as the Dallas Wings (7-12), Washington Mystics (5-13), Indiana Fever (5-14) and Atlanta Dream (5-14) are all in contention for that final seed in the postseason, which begins on Sept. 15 in Florida.
For basically every team already in the playoffs, the battle for the best possible seed will continue in the final few games of the regular season this week. Specifically for the Lynx, they are likely to get a top-4 seed, but could still move up or down a few seeds before the regular season comes to a close.
“At this point it’s about winning games and establishing yourself. We’re one of the top four teams in the league. Anybody can beat anybody,” Minnesota’s head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said on Sunday. “We’re in such a better place (than at the start of the season).”
At 13-6 overall with three games left to play this week, Minnesota will finish the season against Washington on Tuesday, Las Vegas on Thursday and Indiana on Saturday before postseason play tips off.
The Lynx should find themselves as a top-4 team heading into the playoffs, which would mean they would advance to the second-round, which starts Sept. 17. If Minnesota was able to move up to as high as a top-2 seed, it would receive a double-bye and would automatically be placed into the best-of-5 semifinal round starting Sept. 20.
Although all three of the final regular season games will be important for the Lynx to try and win to potentially improve their position in the standings, Thursday’s game against the Aces will likely be the biggest one of the three left on the schedule. If Minnesota would be able to top Las Vegas in that game, the standings among the top four teams would get very interesting.
Going into Tuesday, the Lynx are just one game behind the Sparks in third place, sitting 1.5 games behind the Aces in second and three games back of the Storm in first.
Facing Washington and Indiana this week won’t be an easy task for Minnesota. They are two of the teams still trying to get into the postseason and are trying to catch Dallas, which currently holds a 1.5 game lead for the eighth seed.
As has been the story for the entirety of the 2020 season, it will be a race to the finish in the final week of the regular season down in Florida. And although the Lynx already know they will be taking part in the playoffs beginning next week, they are still trying to get the best seed possible before postseason action begins.