Effective with the 2016 season, the WNBA implemented changes to playoff seeding and qualification procedures as well as the postseason format. Under the new postseason structure, the eight teams with the highest winning percentages regardless of conference qualify for the playoffs and are seeded based on their record.
Additional features of the reconfigured playoff structure are as follows:
— The number of playoff rounds increased from three to four. The top two seeds receive a bye to the semifinals (third round), and the third and fourth seeds receive a bye to the second round.
— Teams will be re-seeded after each postseason round.
— The first and second rounds are single elimination. In the first round, the No. 5 seed hosts the No. 8 seed and the No. 6 seed hosts the No. 7 seed. In the second round, the No. 3 seed hosts the lowest-seeded first-round winner and the No. 4 seed hosts the other first-round winner.
— The semifinals feature a best-of-five format, with the No. 1 overall seed playing the lowest remaining seed and the No. 2 overall seed meeting the remaining team. The Nos. 1 and 2 seeds will host Games 1, 2 and 5, and the lower-seeded teams will host Games 3 and 4 in their respective series. The WNBA Finals remain best-of-five and follow the same 2-2-1 format.