Where can each team finish in the WBBL Championship? - Hoopsfix.com

Where can each team finish in the WBBL Championship?

The 2021-22 WBBL Championship regular season reaches its conclusion on Sunday with the title still to be decided along with the last four playoffs places.

Here’s a run down of each team and where they can still finish in the league standings:

[Q] 1: London Lions (21-0)

Possible finishes: 1st-2nd

London Lions are now just two results away from being crowned WBBL Championship winners for the first time. Mark Clark’s side have already won two of the four pieces of silverware on offer and victory away at Manchester Met Mystics on Wednesday would set up the chance to secure the title at the Copper Box on Friday with either a win over Essex Rebels or defeat for Sevenoaks Suns enough.

The Lions still play Sevenoaks on the final day of the regular season and that could be to decide whether they go through the entire league campaign undefeated. If they were to lose either of their next two games and Sevenoaks won on Friday, the Lions would still be champions as long as they avoided a 10-point defeat on Sunday.

Remaining fixtures:

20th April v Manchester (A)
22nd April v Essex (H)
24th April v Sevenoaks (A)

[Q] 2: Sevenoaks Suns (20-2)

Possible finishes: 1st-2nd

Sevenoaks have hit the 20-win mark in the league once again, but a surprise heavy defeat on the road against Nottingham Wildcats in midweek appears to have cost them a title showdown with London Lions on the final day. Len Busch’s side now need the unbeaten Lions to lose to either Manchester Met Mystics or Essex Rebels to still be alive in the title race.

The Suns would still need to secure the head-to-head in order to win the title if there was to be a tiebreak having lost the previous encounter at the Copper Box by nine points. Even if the title is already decided, Sevenoaks could prevent London emulating their perfect league campaign having gone 22-0 in the 2018-19 season.

Remaining fixtures:

22nd April v Leicester (A)
24th April v London (H)

[Q] 3: Sheffield Hatters (17-5)

Possible finishes: 3rd

It’s been a successful return to the WBBL for the Hatters with a strong 17-5 record ahead of their final fixture. Sheffield are locked up as the third seeds heading into the playoffs with a home quarter-final secured. Four of their five losses have come against the top two sides with the other loss seeing them surrender a 21-point lead against Durham Palatinates.

Remaining fixtures:

23rd April v Gloucester (H)

[Q] 4: Leicester Riders (14-8)

Possible finishes: 4th

Leicester sealed a top-four finish with a win on the road against Cardiff Met Archers last weekend and they finish up their campaign with a double-header at home with their clash with Sevenoaks Suns taking place at the Morningside Arena on Friday afternoon. The Riders earn a home quarter-final and will look to avoid a repeat scenario of last season’s early exit.

Remaining fixtures:

22nd April v Sevenoaks (H)
24th April v Manchester (H)

5: Essex Rebels (11-10)

Possible finishes: 5th-9th

Essex moved to the brink of confirming their spot in the playoffs on Monday as they came from behind to secure a 15-point win at Newcastle Eagles as Claire Paxton recorded a triple-double. The Rebels reached the post-season for the first time last season and can clinch a second successive berth on Wednesday with a win over Oaklands Wolves, though their place could already be confirmed if Manchester Met Mystics are beaten by London Lions in the earlier tip.

They still have three games to play with an encounter with London themselves on Friday afternoon before taking on Nottingham Wildcats on Sunday in a game which likely determines who finishes in fifth place in the battle for playoffs seeding. Essex would miss out on the playoffs if they lost their remaining games and finished in a three-way tie with Nottingham and Durham Palatinates.

Remaining fixtures:

20th April v Oaklands (H)
22nd April v London (A)
24th April v Nottingham (H)

6: Nottingham Wildcats (11-12)

Possible finishes: 5th-9th

Nottingham have never missed out on the WBBL playoffs and that proud record looked threatened earlier this month when they dropped to 8-12 ahead of a clash with Sevenoaks Suns. However, they produced one of the performances of the season with a dominant win in a result that sparked a crucial run of three consecutive victories as they also defeated Durham Palatinates and Newcastle Eagles at the weekend.

The Wildcats will have their place in the post-season confirmed if Manchester Met Mystics lose on Wednesday, while they could cement 5th spot with victory over Essex in their final game should the Rebels lose one of their next two games. However, if Manchester won their remaining two games, Nottingham could miss out if they finished in a two-way tie with Durham given their inferior head-to-head record.

Remaining fixtures:

24th April v Essex (A)

7: Caledonia Pride (11-12)

Possible finishes: 5th-9th

Caledonia have been a top-three side in the form table since the start of 2022 with nine wins from their last 13 games in the league having put together a club-record win streak to turn their fortunes around from a 2-8 start. Their long-awaited return to the post-season is almost confirmed and their place in the top eight could be sealed before they play their final game.

Defeat for Manchester Met Mystics would lock up a playoffs spot for Caledonia, but they could do so themselves with victory over Cardiff Met Archers on Sunday. Pride would likely finish in sixth position should they win their final game, but could drop to eighth with defeat. They would miss out on the playoffs entirely if they were to finish in either a two-way tie with Durham Palatinates or three-way tie with both Durham and Nottingham Wildcats.

Remaining fixtures:

24th April v Cardiff (H)

8: Manchester Met Mystics (10-12)

Possible finishes: 6th-9th

Manchester have sat just outside the top four for the majority of the league campaign, but appear to be most in danger of missing out on the playoffs at the final hurdle. They still control their own destiny, but have tough games with London Lions and Leicester Riders in their final two as only one victory likely would not be enough.

The Mystics do not fare well in most tiebreak situations and would need to better the result of Durham Palatinates on the final weekend if the two teams entered with a 10-13 record (if Manchester lose to London). Two wins for Manchester would propel them up to sixth place, but they could be set for a nervy Sunday evening with Durham starting an hour earlier.

Remaining fixtures:

20th April v London (H)
24th April v Leicester (A)

9: Durham Palatinates (10-13)

Possible finishes: 6th-9th

Durham currently sit outside of the coveted top eight, but will be confident about their position heading into the final week. The Palatinates defeated Manchester in a must-win encounter on Sunday for their second win over the Mystics this month having been boosted by the return of Kara Elderkin having not played since September.

Should Manchester lose to London Lions on Wednesday, then Durham would be able to clinch their place in the playoffs with a win away at Gloucester City Queens or another Mystics loss. However, a defeat of their own would leave the door open for Manchester to keep them out. Durham could still finish as high as sixth if they end up in a three-way tie with Caledonia Pride and Nottingham Wildcats.

Remaining fixtures:

24th April v Gloucester (A)

(e) 10: Newcastle Eagles (7-15)

Possible finishes: 10th-11th

Newcastle’s valiant surge to make the playoffs was ended on Monday afternoon as they were beaten by Essex to suffer their second home loss in 24 hours to drop to 7-15. The Eagles needed at least one victory to keep their hopes alive, but now know they won’t get the chance to repeat their post-season heroics of last season when they advanced to the final as the seventh seeds.

It has been a turbulent campaign for the North-East side, but not one without its positives having reached another final back in January as they finished runners-up to London Lions in the WBBL Cup. Noelia Cacheiro’s side finish up with two more games on the road against sides below them in the standings.

Remaining fixtures:

20th April v Cardiff (A)
23rd April v Oaklands (A)

[e] 11: Cardiff Met Archers (5-17)

Possible finishes: 10th-12th

Cardiff have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in recent weeks, though it came too late in their bid to make it into the post-season. The Archers close out their home fixtures by hosting Newcastle Eagles on Wednesday and could still track them down in the standings, albeit with a required 36-point winning margin to claim the head-to-head.

Stef Collins’ side finish up away at Caledonia Pride on Sunday with 11th place the most likely outcome for their season.

Remaining fixtures:

20th April v Newcastle (H)
24th April v Caledonia (A)

[e] 12: Oaklands Wolves (4-18)

Possible finishes: 11th-13th

Lauren Milligan’s first season as player-coach draws to a close with games against Essex Rebels and Newcastle Eagles to try to finish on a high. The development of the academy players has been the main priority and the young stars have taken their opportunities to compete at the highest level.

Lizzy Harrison has led the senior quintet and is set to take to the court for the final time against the Eagles on Sunday as the club’s all-time leading scorer. They would need to win both games to have a chance of leapfrogging Cardiff, while one win would be enough to stop Gloucester doing the same to them.

Remaining fixtures:

20th April v Essex (A)
24th April v Newcastle (H)

[e] 13: Gloucester City Queens (3-19)

Possible finishes: 12th-13th

Gloucester’s debut season began with promise as they made a 2-0 start in the league, but have since won just once in 20 games with victory over Nottingham Wildcats in January. A depleted roster has seen them struggle at times with multiple defeats of 50+ points having suffered with injuries and departures of Maura Fitzpatrick and Melita Emanuel-Carr.

The Queens need to win both of their final games just to have a chance of avoiding a bottom-placed finish in their first league campaign.

Remaining fixtures:

23rd April v Sheffield (A)
24th April v Durham (H)

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