Lynx lock # 3, Liberty sneak a day off
It’s WNBA playoff time and the final day of the regular season has lived up to the hype. The standings shrank to the five-game list from the final day and depended critically on the Washington Mystics hosting the Minnesota Lynx.
It was the Lynx who won, 83-77, to secure the No.3 seed and take out the mystics of the playoff photo. The Mystics, who have had a turbulent season, were without head coach Mike Thibault due to health and safety protocols. A victory Friday against the New York Liberty or against the Lynx would have made it possible to get their offer.
Instead, the Sparks now held control of the place with the losses as they took to the field in Dallas against the Wings. And they gave it up as well, falling 87-84 despite 18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks from Nneka Ogwumike. The Sparks will miss the playoffs for just the fifth time in 25 years of franchise and league history.
The loss gave New York Liberty, who had a day off, their first place in the playoffs since 2017.
The Wings had something to play in all of this, as reported on the team’s broadcast. At least the organization could think about it. Dallas has the Sparks’ first-round pick in 2022 and now that the Sparks have fallen into the four-team lottery, they have a chance of getting a No.1 pick.
Seeds for the WNBA playoffs
1. Connecticut Sun (26-6) –The Sun have the longest consecutive playoff winning streak in WNBA history after winning their 14th in a row on Sunday.
2. Las Vegas ace (24-8) – Reigning MVP A’ja Wilson and the Aces locked the spot on Friday and picked up Liz Cambage, who was in health and safety protocols earlier this month.
3. Minnesota Lynx (22-10) – Aerial Powers scored 27 points, Napheesa Collier posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double and the Lynx resisted a Mystics comeback led by Natasha Cloud to retain the top seed.
4. Seattle Storm (21-11) – A difficult period after the Olympic break and being without Breanna Stewart in the last few games took a toll on the Storm’s chances.
5. Phoenix Mercury (19-13) – Friday night’s loss to Seattle sealed the Mercury’s fifth place finish. They fell to As on Sunday.
6. Chicago Sky (15-16) – Chicago was also stranded before the last weekend.
7. Dallas Wings (14-18) – Dallas locked in place on Friday and enters playoffs with solid win over Sparks
8. New York Liberty (12-20)
The first round matches and how to watch
The first round will be played on Thursday. ESPN has the exclusive rights to the playoff schedule.
No.7 Dallas Wings at No.6 Chicago Sky, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 – The Wings hold the lead, 2-1, in the series of the season. They went 1-1 in Chicago.
New York Liberty No.8 at No.5 Phoenix Mercury, 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 – The Mercury is 2-1 in the series with both wins last week.
The second round will take place on Sunday, September 26 with the No. 3 seed welcoming the worst seed remaining from the first round. The No. 4 seed will host the other playoff game.
The best-of-five semi-finals begin on Tuesday, September 28. The best of five WNBA finals are scheduled to begin on Sunday, October 10. The full program of the semi-finals and finals (*if necessary):
Semi-finals (best of five)
Game 1: Tuesday, September 28
Game 2: Thursday, September 30
Game 3: Sunday October 3
Game 4: Wednesday October 6 *
Game 5: Friday October 8 *
WNBA Finals (best of five)
Game 1: Sunday October 10
Game 2: Wednesday, October 13
Game 3: Friday October 15
Game 4: Sunday October 17 *
Game 5: Tuesday, October 19 *
Sunday Notes Before Playoffs
DeWanna Bonner left the Sun’s game against the Atlanta Dream in the first quarter with an apparent injury, although she left most of the time alone. Her back has been blocked, according to the team’s broadcast, and she is facing back tightness.
The Sun will not return to the field until Tuesday, September 28, the date of the start of the semi-finals. Alyssa Thomas returned last week less than nine months after an injury to Achilles appeared to rule her out for the entire season.
While the game meant nothing to the standings, the Aces started their nine-day playoff break with a bang.
Korean Olympian JiSu Park retired volleyball skills to turn down Brianna Turner on the final blow and preserve an 84-83 victory.