Wednesday night marks the beginning of the 2019 WNBA postseason.
This is just the third year the league has played under its new playoff format. And while it might appear complex on the outside, it’s really quite simple.
Allow us to break it down for you.
As of 2016, teams are seeded based on record, not by conference. The eight teams with the highest winning percentages earn a spot in the playoffs, with four teams earning a first-round bye, two of which lock up double-byes.
The first single-elimination round has the No. 5 seed (Chicago Sky) squaring off against the No. 8 seed (Phoenix Mercury), while the No. 6 seed (Seattle Storm) takes on the No. 7 seed (Minnesota Lynx). The second single-elimination round pits the lowest-seeded winner from Round 1 against the No. 3 seed (Los Angeles Sparks) while the highest-seeded winner meets the No. 4 seed (Las Vegas Aces).
Then it’s off to the semifinals, where the lowest-seeded winner from Round 2 take on the No. 1 seed (Washington Mystics) while the lowest-seeded winner heads to Mohegan Sun Arena to take on the No. 2 seed Connecticut Sun. Each best-of-five series begins Sept. 17, with the No. 1 and 2 seeds retaining home-court advantage.
The two teams that emerge victorious during their respective semifinals series then will battle each other in a five-game series to determine this year’s WNBA champion. Tip-off for this series is slated for Sept. 29.
The Mercury and Sky kick off the postseason Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Lynx and Storm at 10 p.m. ET. Both games air on ESPN2.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Poss/Connecticut Sun