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WNBL Rankings, Tips Rd15: It's 'all or nothing' time

OMG! Rarely if ever has a WNBL regular season come down to so many permutations, from which club will finish top, to which of four teams battling for two spots will make it into the post-season, to which player from MVP finalists Sami Whitcomb, Jordin Canada, Lauren Nicholson, Isobel Borlase or Jade Melbourne will claim the coveted individual prize. 

Guess we've kind of given away our favourite for the award, though it's likely Sami would prefer a championship ring to an individual honour.

But first, her Townsville needs to beat Southside to be assured of first place and its playoff homecourt benefits. Nyadiew Puoch was the game winner when the Flyers won in Townsville, before the Fire tied the season-series at 1-1 with a bushwacking in Melbourne.

When teams finish with tied win-loss record, what separates their ladder positions is which team won the season-series so Townsville, now 13-6, can ill afford to drop this one as Southside is 12-7.

A Flyers win takes them both onto 13-7 but with the season-series advantage. And that would make their final regular season games - Townsville against Sydney, Southside home to Adelaide - still very relevant. Adelaide is 1-1 with the Flyers and did not have Steph Talbot playing in either outing.

For Sydney (11-9), beating the Fire is a must to move it to 12-9. Only Townsville and Southside have their Final Four berths locked away. A Flames loss to the Fire would leave Sydney vulnerable at 11-10.

The same goes for sorely depleted Melbourne (11-9). A road loss at Canberra would leave the Boomers on 11-10. And if Perth (10-10) beats Bendigo (11-9), they both also would finish on 11-10.

In a four-way tie between Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Bendigo, their season-series records come into play and it is the Boomers and Lynx which advance to the post-season.

A Bendigo win for a 12-9 finish ends the year for Perth which then would be 10-11 and sixth.

A Melbourne win in Canberra would leave it on 12-9 and if Sydney beats Townsville, it too would be 12-9. With Bendigo also winning, their mini-table would show all three teams on 3-3 win-loss records against each other.

On points spread between those teams, Sydney and Bendigo advance, Melbourne watches the finals on TV.

According to the WNBL, there are actually 32 possible varying outcomes so it's truly a case of wow, let's watch and wait. 

First place at stake and this usually is when Southside rises and the Fire goes out.
Picking a boilover, Canberra KOing Melbourne, leaving it sweating other results.
Adelaide will close the season with a bang but the Flyers will still register the win.
The pre-finals final between Bendigo and Perth should be a classic. Spirit, just.
If Bendigo won, pressure is off Sydney v Fire. Townsville to get this, regardless. 

This          Last
Week       Week   Club

  1               4        Bendigo (11-9) On league-best 5-win streak and too close to stumble.
  2               3        Southside (12-7) Can claim pinnacle or finish in the pack. Big round.
  3               2        Sydney (11-9) Must beat the champs to avoid a potential logjam.
  4               1        Townsville (13-6) Beating Flyers secures top. Lose = must beat Flames.
  5               6        Perth (10-10) All or nothing time and Aari, the Big Mac, is back.
  6               7        Adelaide (7-13) Beat Boomers 2-1 and can play spoiler to Southside.
  7               5        Melbourne (11-9) Late decline and injuries threaten to derail season.
  8               8        Canberra (4-16) At home will want to close spoiling Melbourne plans.

Feb 21

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