Despite the apparent lack of parity in women’s basketball, the WNBA playoff race is still wide open. Following the WNBA’s league-wide break for the 2016 Rio Olympics, each team has between eight and 11 games remaining on their respective schedules. Eight of the WNBA’s 12 teams will earn a postseason berth in a new open conference format. This means that the top eight teams in the league will advance to the playoffs regardless of conference.

Although a playoff race in which two-thirds of the teams make the postseason seems unimportant, the open format keeps fans invested in a league that is still growing.

15 and a half games separate the number-one ranked Los Angeles Sparks (21-3) from the 12th place San Antonio Stars (5-18). The gap between first and 12th is too much for the Stars to overcome for home court advantage; however, just three and a half games separate the Stars from the eighth-place Washington Mystics (9-15).

If the season ended today, the playoff seedings would appear as follows:

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (21-3)
  2. Minnesota Lynx (21-4)
  3. New York Liberty (18-8)
  4. Atlanta Dream (13-12)
  5. Indiana Fever (12-12)
  6. Chicago Sky (11-13)
  7. Phoenix Mercury (10-14)
  8. Washington Mystics (9-15)

The Seattle Storm also have a record of 9-15 but the Mystics currently hold the tiebreaker with a better conference record. The teams have split head-to-head wins this season with the rubber match taking place September 9 in Washington.

Historically, the best regular season record is held by the 2014 Phoenix Mercury who finished the season 29-5 (.852) on their way to a championship. The team with the worst record to make the playoffs was the 2010 Los Angeles Sparks who qualified with a 13-21 (.382) record. If the Sparks and Mystics keep up their current winning percentage through the final stretch, both the best and worst playoff qualifying records will be broken this season.

The WNBA’s Olympics break ends this Friday when the Minnesota Lynx and Connecticut Sun tip off a five-game slate.

Brad Omland is the Managing Editor of TheSportsBlaze.com. Follow him on Twitter for sports updates and commentary: @bradradio.