Las Vegas top WNBA playoff seed, Seattle 4th as league debuts new format

A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces will begin their quest for their first WNBA title much sooner than the top seeds have in years past.

A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces will begin their quest for their first WNBA title much sooner than the top seeds have in years past.

The Aces secured home berth throughout the playoffs on the final day of the regular season by securing first place in the WNBA postseason beginning Wednesday.

Before this year, Las Vegas would have a bye to the semifinals. The league changed the playoff format to best-of-three series in the quarterfinals instead of the single-elimination matches in the first two rounds used since 2016.

“We’re not done yet. This is the beginning,” Wilson said after the Aces took first place on Sunday. “The regular season was nice, but now it’s real. It doesn’t matter what number is played with your name in the playoffs. It could be anyone’s night on any day.

“It’s playoffs, you either want it or you don’t want it.”

The top four seeds – Las Vegas, Chicago, Connecticut and Seattle – will all host the first two games of their series, with a potentially crucial third game at the bottom seed’s home court.

Breanna Stewart was happy the league changed the playoff format.

“I think in the WNBA all teams deserve a series,” she said. “It’s a tribute to the teams that make it. The quest for greatness throughout the season shouldn’t end with a game on the line. We’re a pro league. It should be exciting and will be interesting with the 2-1 best out of three.”

Stewart will try to help teammate Sue Bird retire with a fifth WNBA championship. Fourth-seeded Storm has a tough first-round matchup against Washington. Seattle hosts the Mystics on Thursdays and Sundays. Game three will be played next Tuesday, August 23 in Washington DC, if required.

“This league keeps improving the game and getting better and better,” said Stewart. “Everyone knows that on every team there are players who can flee.”

HEALTH STATUS

Dallas played the last few games without Arike Ogunbowale (abdominal problems) and Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi was sidelined with a quadriceps injury. Both teams will have a hard time progressing in the lineup without them. Phoenix could also be without guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who has missed the last few games due to personal reasons.

BACK TO BACK?

Chicago is attempting to become the first team to repeat the title since Los Angeles won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. Sky hosts New York in the opening round.

EXCITING FINISH

New York and Phoenix didn’t secure any postseason spots until the final day of the regular season. The Liberty knocked off Atlanta and Phoenix advanced as Minnesota lost to Connecticut earlier in the day and ended the career of WNBA great Sylvia Fowles.

BELOW THE RADAR

The Connecticut Sun finished the league with the third-best record behind Las Vegas and Chicago. The Sun finished the season with eight wins in their last 10 games and will be looking to win the franchise’s first title.

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/wnba/storm/las-vegas-top-wnba-playoff-seed-seattle-4th-as-league-debuts-new-format/281-9e2b6ae7-5dbf-45b4-915e-b75f191d3f95 Las Vegas top WNBA playoff seed, Seattle 4th as league debuts new format

Emma Bowman

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