GIQ WNBA Previews — Conference Semifinals: Phoenix Mercury at San Antonio Silver Stars, Indiana Fever at Washington Mystics

by Frisco Del Rosario on September 17, 2009

Indiana Fever at Washington Mystics

Which Indiana Fever will show up for the playoffs? The group that set franchise records for wins and winning streaks, or the team that coasted home with seven losses in 10 games which might have peaked already?

When Indiana covers the spread, then tend to make under: 8-11 O/U when they cover. If they fail to cover, they mostly hit overs: 10-5 O/U when they lost to the spread.

Indiana scores a lot of points against Washington, sweeping the season series 4-0, 3-1 ATS and 3-1 O/U. The Mystics have been a home underdog once this season, +2 against Indiana on 8/2, and losing 87-79.

The Fever have two MVP candidates in guard Katie Douglas and forward Tamika Catchings (who will likely split every consideration they get): Douglas led the team in scoring with 17 points per game, Catchings scored 15 points, and nearly broke the league record for steals. Teresa Weatherspoon had 100 in 1998, Catchings has seasons of 97, 94, 94 and 90.

Washington also limped to the finish, losing three of four conference games at the end, but Chicago managed to be a little bit worse.

The Mystics succeeded in lightening the load for scoring guard Alana Beard, whose 16 points per game was her lowest average since 2005. Lindsey Harding’s and Crystal Langhorne’s 25 points per game was the best 2/3 combination behind Beard yet.

Phoenix Mercury at San Antonio Silver Stars

The Mercury finished with the best overall record, the best record against the spread, the only road record over .500, and the most overs in the league.

The Silver Stars had little to be proud of this year, but for creeping into the playoffs, their goal to avenge last year’s sweep in the league championship series is still alive.

The Stars’ last six conference games at home were 3-3 SU and 2-4 ATS, but they did manage to whack the Mercury 106-89 on 8/15. The season series was a 2-2 split, where the home team won each game, and covered the spread each time. No surprise that all four games hit the over.

Becky Hammon had another All-Star year for San Antonio, leading the team with 20 points, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. The 5-foot-6 Hammon even blocked 12 shots in 2009, after making 22 blocked shots in 10 seasons. Ann Wauters was supposed to turn the team around at the All-Star break, but the Stars were 7-10 with the center, who averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds.

The linesmaker caught up with Phoenix’s totals by the end of the season. In the Mercury’s last 10 wins against the spread, they were 5-5 O/U. In their first 13 wins ATS, they were 11-2 O/U. The Mercury were 4-3 ATS as a road favorite.

Diana Taurasi is the league MVP in this space, leading the Mercury in points, steals, and even blocked shots.

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