Ladies and gentlemen (non-binary folks, too), the WNBA Playoffs are here! What a time to be alive. But before we dig into Thursday night’s festivities, allow me to bring everyone up to speed on the WNBA’s playoff format that’s been in place since 2016:
- The eight teams with the highest winning percentages make the playoffs regardless of conference and are seeded based on their record. (I need the NBA to take heed and follow suit. Please and thanks in advance!)
- The top two seeds skip the fun until the semifinals; the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds skip the first round.
- The first and second rounds are single elimination; the semifinals and finals follow a best-of-five format.
- Teams reseed after each round.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Kicking off the WNBA Playoffs on Thursday night were the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky versus the seventh-seeded Dallas Wings. Chicago led by as many as 21-points but when the Wings cut the lead to 55-52 early in the fourth quarter, Kahleah Copper and WNBA legend Candace Parker—who just released her Ace signature collection with Adidas—weren’t having it. Copper finished with 23 points and Parker poured in 11 points, 15 boards, seven dimes, and three steals to eliminate Dallas with a strong 81-64 win. Allie Quigley was kind enough to chip in 15 points for Chicago, too.
After the playoffs opener, the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury held off the eighth-seeded New York Liberty in a thriller that can best be described as “Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!”
In a crazy-ass game that included a combined 15 lead changes and ties in the fourth quarter alone, Brianna Turner’s game-winning free throw with 0.4 seconds left on the clock sealed the Liberty’s fate and eliminated them from the playoffs with an 83-82 win.
WNBA legend Diana Taurasi—who was recently named one of the 25 greatest players in the history of the league—missed her fifth straight game last night due to a left ankle injury but the rest of her squad was up for the task. Skylar Diggins-Smith poured in 22 points, Brittney Griner added 16 points and 10 boards of her own, and Sophie Cunningham couldn’t miss from behind the arc, shooting 6-of-7 from deep.
The fun continues on Sunday when Chicago faces off against Sylvia Fowles’ Minnesota Lynx while the Mercury go to war with the Seattle Storm.