There’s been some confusion lately over whether the Storm has a chance to clinch the best record in the WNBA and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with a win tonight. The league has told us that the Storm’s magic number is officially two because, though one more win would guarantee the Storm no worse than a tie for the league’s best record, there is still the possibility the Storm would lose said tie.
That fits with what we learned back in 2008, that the second tie-breaker (after head-to-head record) between teams from different conferences was actually record against the other conference. Right now, four East teams could tie the Storm with a 23-11 record (Atlanta, Indiana, New York and Washington). The Storm would win the tie against New York by virtue of sweeping the season series, but has already split with Indiana and would have to split with Atlanta and Washington to tie them in terms of overall record. In each case, winning out would allow the East team to win the second tie-breaker with a superior record against the other conference.
So the soonest the Storm could clinch would be tomorrow, with a win tonight (which would eliminate Atlanta, New York and Washington, all of whom have already lost 11 games) and a Fever loss at Phoenix tomorrow.
To sum it up, there are three ways the Storm could secure the league’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs:
1. Two Storm wins
2. One Storm win and one Indiana loss
3. Two losses by Indiana and one loss by Atlanta and one loss by Washington
I hope that’s all clear as mud. If there are further questions, please drop them in the comments.