WNBA Announces Postseason Dates and New Format for Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals

NEW YORK, July 29, 2010 � As teams continue to jockey for playoff positioning, the WNBA today announced dates for the first two rounds of the postseason, as well as a new format for the conference semifinals and conference finals. Semifinals games will be played Aug. 25-30 with the conference finals played Sept. 2-8. Both series will now be played in a 1-1-1 best-of-three format, with the higher-seeded teams hosting games 1 and 3. In years prior, the first two rounds were played 1-2, with the higher-seed opening on the road.

�Every team plays hard to gain competitive home-court advantage in the postseason. This change provides incentive and reward for teams who perform at the highest-level, while giving fans the opportunity to see their playoff series tip-off at home,� said WNBA President Donna Orender.

The Seattle Storm has clinched the No. 1 seed in the West
Jordan Johnson/NBAE/Getty Images
The WNBA Finals, scheduled to begin on Sept. 12, will remain a 2-2-1 best-of-five format in which the higher-seeded team will host games 1, 2, and 5. All WNBA Playoff games will be televised nationally, with ESPN2 and ABC airing up to 10 games, including all contests during the WNBA Finals. NBA TV will also air up to 12 games as part of its conference semifinals and conference finals coverage.

In the Western Conference, the Seattle Storm (21-2) has locked up the No. 1 seed, and is on pace to surpass the WNBA record for best regular season winning percentage, held by the 1998 Houston Comets (.900). The Storm is led by a pair of WNBA All-Stars, center Lauren Jackson and point guard Sue Bird. Jackson ranks second in the league in scoring (22.3 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (9.3 rpg), while Bird ranks first in the league in assists (5.6 apg).

The defending WNBA champion, Phoenix Mercury, is showing signs of returning to championship form. Phoenix is 3-2 since the All-Star break, led by league scoring leader Diana Taurasi (23.9 ppg). On three separate occasions this season, the Mercury has set new-single game scoring records, including 123 points against the Tulsa Shock and 127 points the following game against the Minnesota Lynx in a thrilling double-overtime win.

In the Eastern Conference, each remaining regular season game has playoff implications that will help determine the top four seeds. All six teams in the Eastern Conference continue to be in playoff contention, with the Indiana Fever, Atlanta Dream, Washington Mystics, and Connecticut Sun leading the way. The Chicago Sky (12-13) is looking to make its first postseason appearance in franchise history.

WNBA fans can follow all the exciting league action and news on their favorite teams and players at www.wnba.com, as well as www.facebook.com/wnba and www.twitter.com/wnba.