Going into Tuesday night, just five teams remain in the quest to capture the 2011 WNBA Championship. We're stacking up the five teams left standing and the chances that they have of being crowned champs this year.
We already know the two combatants remaining in the Eastern Conference. The Indiana Fever and the Atlanta Dream will meet for the right to move on to the WNBA Finals starting on Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Atlanta was a decided underdog in its first round series with the Connecticut Sun. The Sun tied for the regular season Eastern Conference crown, but were relegated to the No. 2 seed in the final days of the season.
After starting off the season at just 3-9, the Dream really got rolling, winning 17 of their last 22 games going into the playoffs before posting the two-game sweep of the Sun.
The beneficiaries are the Fever, the top seed in the East. Their three-game series with the New York Liberty was intense, as the teams split the first two games, which had a combined margin of victory of just seven points.
Indiana got the job done in Game 3 though, winning 72-62 behind 21 points from Katie Douglas to move on to the second round.
Atlanta swept the season series with the Fever, going 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS. The Dream have scored at least 84 points in six straight in this series, and are 5-1 SU in those six games. Needless to say, the 'over' has cashed six in a row, and is 8-1 in the last nine meetings at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Out West, things are a lot more interesting. On Monday night, the Phoenix Mercury knocked off the Seattle Storm 77-75 in the do-or-die Game 3 to make it to the Western Conference Finals.
The Mercury were the No. 3 seed after going just 19-15 in the regular season, including posting a mediocre 11-11 record against fellow Western Conference teams.
Phoenix got its doors blown off in Game 1 of this series in Seattle, dropping 80-61, but it fired back in Game 2 with a 92-83 win. Game 3 looked to be a blowout after a 20-9 first quarter in favor of the Shock, but the Mercury outscored them in each of the final three quarters, capped by a Candice Dupree bucket with less than two seconds left to knock the hosts out of the postseason.
Who the Mercury play next is still up in the air. The Minnesota Lynx posted the best record in the league this year at 27-7, but they have struggled and struggled mightily against No. 4 seed San Antonio in their first round series.
The Silver Stars nearly pulled off the shocker in Game 1 as nine-point underdogs, dropping 66-65 in arguably the best game thus far in the WNBA playoffs. San Antonio came back two nights later to post an 84-75 win at home in Game 2.
Now, the Silver Stars shoot for the upset in Game 3 as 7 ½-point underdogs on the WNBA odds.
Minnesota had beaten San Antonio all four times in the regular season this year, which makes this series stretching the distance quite the shock.
The Western Conference Finals should begin on Friday, with Game 1 either being in Minnesota or Phoenix.
The Mercury went just 2-3 this year against the Lynx and the Silver Stars, but they will have to feel a heck of a lot better if San Antonio win on Tuesday night to give Phoenix home court advantage in the Western Conference Finals.