Storylines For 2021 WNBA Playoffs

PLAYOFF FORMAT: The four-round WNBA Playoffs feature the eight teams with the best regular-season records, regardless of conference affiliation. The top two seeds – the No. 1 Connecticut Sun and the No. 2 Las Vegas Aces – earned a double bye into the WNBA Semifinals (third
round). The third and fourth seeds – the No. 3 Minnesota Lynx and the No. 4 Seattle Storm – received a bye into the second round. The first and second rounds are single-elimination games. The WNBA Semifinals and the WNBA Finals 2021 presented by YouTube TV are best-of-five series.

VIEWERS’ GUIDE:  The WNBA Playoffs will have a maximum of 19 games, all available across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and the ESPN App. Minnesota and Seattle will each host a second-round, single-elimination game Sunday, Sept. 26. The WNBA Semifinals will begin Tuesday, Sept. 28 on ESPN2, with Connecticut and Las Vegas each hosting a series opener. Game 1 of the WNBA Finals is currently scheduled to be played Sunday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. Click here for the complete playoff schedule.

BLAZING SUN: Top-seeded Connecticut (26-6) won its final 14 regular season games, marking the longest season-ending winning streak in WNBA history and the fourth-longest winning streak overall. The Sun, which posted the best single-season winning percentage in franchise history (.813), is seeking to win its first WNBA championship. Connecticut is led by MVP candidate Jonquel Jones, who averaged 19.4 points and a league-leading 11.2 rebounds per game in the regular season.

STATE OF THE STORM: The defending WNBA champion Storm is looking to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002. Seattle, which won the inaugural WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship last month, is hoping 2020 WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart will return from a recent foot injury. The Storm also features Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd, who both joined Stewart as Tokyo Olympics gold medalists with the USA Basketball Women’s National Team. Bird is eyeing her record-tying fifth WNBA championship.


DRIVE FOR FIVE: Minnesota and Seattle will each have a chance to become the first franchise to win five WNBA championships. The Lynx won 17 of its final 20 regular-season games to earn its 11th consecutive playoff appearance, the second-longest streak in WNBA history. Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles, a two-time WNBA Finals MVP and the league’s career rebounding leader, is viewed as a top candidate for the regular-season MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Las Vegas reached the WNBA Finals last season before losing to Seattle in a three-game sweep. Led by 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and reigning Western Conference Player of the Month Kelsey Plum, the second-seeded Aces (24-8) have another opportunity to win their first WNBA championship.