With five WNBA teams having clinched a playoff spot and two teams having already been eliminated, the WNBA playoffs are starting to take shape.
The Seattle Storm, Atlanta Dream, Washington Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks and Connecticut Sun have already reached the playoffs, regardless of the outcome of games over the next week. The Seattle Storm have also locked in on the best record in the league.
Most likely to clinch next is the defending champion Minnesota Lynx. If the playoffs started today, the Phoenix Mercury and Dallas Wings would be the final two teams.
Both the New York Liberty and the Indiana Fever have been eliminated from the playoffs and will be heading into the offseason after their final regular season games on August 19. The remaining team most at risk of not making the playoffs is the Chicago Sky, who are four games back from the closest playoff seed and have lost their last two in a row.
The WNBA playoffs are set up much differently than the NBA playoffs, mainly because there are fewer teams. Unlike the NBA’s playoff seeding rules, where eight teams from each conference make the post season, eight total WNBA teams make the playoffs.
The top two seeded teams at the end of the season are guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals while the third and fourth teams are guaranteed to make it to the second round. In the first round of play, the fifth seeded team plays the eight while the sixth seeded team plays the seventh.
In the second round, the third seeded team plays the lowest remaining team from the first round, while the fourth seeded team plays the other winner from the first round. The third round features the first seeded team playing the lowest remaining seed while the second seeded team plays the last team remaining.
Featured Image via: Flickr/Lorie Shaull