Most of the important issues in the WNBA playoff race (and a lot of the unimportant ones) were decided a long time ago, which has made it a struggle to retain interest in the closing weeks of the regular season. However, technically, last night’s three games all still had some relevance to either playoff qualification or home court advantage in the postseason. Which isn’t bad with only six days left. On to the Bullet Point Breakdowns.
- The night kicked off with the only game where both teams had something to play for. Mathematically, at least. New York were the team who needed it more, with a ‘magic number’ of two heading into the night. They still needed a combination of two more Liberty wins or Chicago Sky losses just to sneak into the playoffs. San Antonio still had faint hopes of stealing home court advantage away from Los Angeles in the first round, but it was going to take wins in their last three games, and LA losing their last two, to get there.
- Throughout the contest, San Antonio’s best player was second-year point guard Danielle Robinson, who’s had a very impressive season. She’s lightning quick, which both helps her get to the rim and pester opponents defensively. It also means that if she pokes away a steal or breaks out in transition, no one’s catching her. She’s also worked hard on her mid-range jumper, which has been falling consistently all season long. You can’t just leave her open to take that shot any more, because she’s shooting 55% from the field and it’s not just layups. In fact, she’s shooting 47% from both 11-15 and 16-20 feet, way above the league averages. Her control of the team as a point guard has improved as well. Since being drafted she’s benefitted from playing alongside Becky Hammon, who takes on a lot of the creative responsibilities, but she’s not just standing on the wing and watching Becky work any more. She’s legitimately the point guard on significantly more possessions, and has increased her assists while lowering her turnovers this season. The PG spot in San Antonio should be in good hands for years to come.
- Robinson’s primary partner in crime early in the game was Shameka Christon, who seems to have rediscovered her three-point shooting touch recently. Which is a good thing, because she doesn’t do much else. The Silver Stars run plays designed purely to get her open from her favourite spots for three (diagonal from the rim out on the wing, on either side), and she was converting. Continue reading