Final WNBA Playoff Seedings Came Down to Last Day of Season
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA's playoff bracket is set after a busy final day of the regular season.
Washington, Connecticut and Los Angeles had already sealed up the top-three playoff spots before Sunday's contests. The Mystics and Sun don't play until the semifinals. The Sparks will play Sunday against the worst remaining seed.
Las Vegas, which had clinched the franchise's first playoff berth since 2014 and first since moving to Nevada last year from San Antonio, earned a first-round bye and a home game with a victory over Phoenix on Sunday and a loss by Chicago.
"The season kind of went how I expected it to. A lot of ups and downs, trying to understand each other and learn how to win," Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We had our moments we looked very good, and moments where we looked really bad. All in all, to take the fourth seed and have a bye in the first round and a home game. We will take it."
While the Aces have a bye, Chicago will have to play Wednesday against Phoenix. The Mercury are no stranger to the single-elimination postseason format, going 6-0 in it since the league changed to it in 2016. Chicago swept the three games during the regular season between the two teams.
"In a one game knockout situation as long as we can limit what they want to do and make them feel uncomfortable anything is possible. We didn't win at Connecticut last year and we went in there and won," Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. "We've been in these situations before so we're not looking at it like "Oh we haven't won," because you just go and play. We're going to believe. We know we can do this. It's not easy, no game is easy. Anyone can beat anyone in this league so we just have to make sure that it's our night."
Minnesota had a chance to get a home game, but a loss to Los Angeles on Sunday and a win by Seattle in Dallas gave the Storm the home matchup against the Lynx on Wednesday night in the opening round. Seattle won three of the four meetings between the teams this season, including the last three.
"We know how to be good, and now we need to do that on the road. That's the hardest thing, and that's why the home games are so coveted," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We are going to see if we can win a hard road game. We need to play a lot better than we did today."