Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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San Antonio can clinch fourth seed in West -- and date with Lynx -- with win at LA

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Sports Updated: September 6, 2011 - 9:23 AM

Lynx fans could find out as soon as Tuesday night who their team will meet in the Western Conference semifinals.

If San Antonio beats Los Angeles in a 9:30 p.m. game (NBA-TV, wnba.com's liveaccess), the Silver Stars will lock up the fourth seed. The best-of-three series between the Lynx and San Antonio would start either Sept. 15 or 16 at Target Center, then ,move to Texas for the second game and return to Minneapolis for a third game, if necessary.

The Lynx are 4-0 against San Antonio this season.

But not so fast. If LA wins, the Sparks would pull within one game of San Antonio, even their season series at 2-2 and have the edge in the next tie-breaker, best conference record. LA would be 10-11 against West opponents, SA 9-12.

Here is a look at the records and schedule of those two teams:

                            W       L

San Antonio         15      16    at LA (Tues.), Wash (Sat.), at Tulsa (Sun.)

Los Angeles         12      18    SA (Tues.), Tulsa (Fri.), Chi (Sat.)

If LA wins tonight, the Lynx and their fans might have to wait until Sun. -- when San Antonio plays at Tulsa -- to find out the team's playoff opponent.   

LA is 4-2 in its last six home games and finishes with three games at Staples Center. If they win all three, San Antonio, whose lead over LA would drop to one game if they lose to the Sparks tonight, will have to win its last two games to make the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.

The Silver Stars finish with Washington and Tulsa, the last place teams in the East and West. But the Mystics usually play everybody close and the Shock have been playing better of late, with back-to-back victories over LA and Connecticut.

BATTLE FOR SECOND

Who the second place team in the West will be is also still undecided. Defending WNBA champion Seattle has the slight edge over 2009 champion Phoenix.

Here are their records and remaining schedule:

                           W         L

Seattle                19         13        Phoenix (Fri.), Chicago (Sun.)

Phoenix             18          13       Tulsa (Thus.), at Seattle (Fri.), Lynx (Sun.)

The Mercury play three games in four days. Not ideal.

Seattle has a 2-1 series lead over Phoenix and can clinch the second seed by beating the Mercury on Fri.

If Phoenix wins on Thursday and beats Seattle on Friday, the Mercury would have a one-game lead going into Sunday's game with the Lynx. Then a Phoenix win that day or a Seattle loss would clinch second.

If they somehow finish tied in the standings -- and that scenario has to include a Phoenix win in Seattle to even their series at 2-2, the first tiebreaker  -- the Storm will be the second seed because of its better conference record. The Storm is 14-7 against the West now, Phoenix is only 10-9 and can't catch Seattle in that second tiebreaker..

 

 

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