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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

August 26, 2011 at 2:20 PM

TV Alert: Western Conference playoff picture unfolds

Static.jpgWhile the Storm is basking in the hot Seattle sunshine, Western Conference foes Minnesota, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Los Angeles will be jumbling the postseason picture depending on the outcome of their games Friday night.
Click to NBA-TV at 5 p.m. PST to first catch Minnesota at San Antonio. The Silver Stars (13-13) need to end a four-game losing streak to keep their playoff hopes alive while the Lynx (21-6), the sole WNBA team to clinch a berth, are trying to secure the overall top seed.
Edge is going to Minnesota, playing at the comfy Target Center to start the home-and-home set between the teams this weekend. Although the games have been close, San Antonio has lost to Minnesota in the past four meetings.
The Silver Stars have just a 1.5-game lead over Los Angeles for the fourth and final berth in the West. A loss and Los Angeles (12-15) defeating Tulsa (1-25) in the second game on NBA-TV (7:30 p.m. PST) would be costly in San Antonio’s pursuit of a fifth consecutive berth.
Clearly San Antonio is hurting without rookie sensation Danielle Adams (15.3 points). But now is the time for the veteran team to figure out other options.
Meanwhile Phoenix All-Star Diana Taurasi has missed the Mercury’s past two games with a back injury. Tied with Seattle (16-12) for second in the West, Phoenix (15-11) hopes to have Taurasi in the lineup for a pivotal game at Connecticut. The Sun (17-10) are second in the Eastern Conference and have only lost twice at home this season.
“I feel fine,” Taurasi told The Hartford Courant on Thursday. “You can’t help what’s just happened. But I am OK.”
Taurasi (21.0 points) is clutch, but considering her health and the Mercury’s lack of interior depth, the edge here is going to the Sun. Connecticut features Tina Charles, a leading candidate for league MVP, averaging 17.7 points and 10.9 boards.
If Phoenix were to lose, that would give Seattle sole possession of second. Los Angeles should defeat Tulsa, which is on a league-worst 20-game losing streak, so the Storm’s magic number to actually clinch a berth remains four. That’s any combination of Storm wins and Sparks losses.
How convenient LA is up next for Seattle, playing at KeyArena on Sunday. That game airs on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. PST.
“You have your eye on the standings, for sure,” Storm All-Star Sue Bird said. “But because it’s like this (up and down), you just need to focus on yourself, not think, ‘Oh, did Phoenix win? Oh, what did San Antonio do?’ Then your head’s in the wrong place. For us, we have a big game Sunday and we’re going to focus on that. Keep it moving from there.”

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