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5 things you should know about the 2017 WNBA Playoffs

The playoffs kick off Sept. 6 and it’s going to be better than ever.

San Antonio Stars v Phoenix Mercury Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2017 WNBA playoffs kick off Sept. 6 with games between the No. 5 seed Mercury hosting the No. 8 seed Storm and the No. 6 seed Mystics hosting the No. 7 seed Wings. Once again, the Lynx and Sparks are the two teams to beat in this season’s postseason but there are plenty of other storylines to follow as well.

The first and second round of the WNBA playoffs are single elimination

The WNBA adopted a new playoff format in 2016 and will continue that in the 2017 season. In an attempt to reward the best teams across the entire league, the teams are seeded one through eight regardless of conference. The first two rounds are single-elimination games, and the semifinals and Finals are both best-of-five series. The teams are also re-seeded after each round, giving higher seeds continued advantage.

Lynx have No. 1 seed for the fifth time in seven years.

Minnesota finished the season 27-7 and are once again at the top of the WNBA. During this seven-year stretch of excellence, the Lynx have three titles and five WNBA Finals appearances. The common denominator during this run? Maya Moore and head coach Cheryl Reeve. Both have been extremely influential to the success of the franchise.

The Lynx will get to bypass both single-elimination rounds and will wait on the semifinals for their first game. They need as much time as they can get as they still wait for their starting point guard, Lindsay Whalen, to return to the court after breaking her left hand. Whalen will return to practice on Sept. 6, hopefully becoming ready for Minnesota’s first game on Sept. 12.

Liberty are entering the playoffs on a 10-game win streak

New York is getting hot at just the right time. They’ve won 10-straight heading into the playoffs, the longest streak in the team’s history. They’re the third seed in the playoffs led by Tina Charles, who won Eastern Conference Player of the Week six times this season and Player of the Month in July.

Head Coach Bill Laimbeer also feels confident heading into the postseason.

“It doesn’t matter who we play, where we play, we're worried about ourselves at the moment, and taking care of business internally. There are some things we need to look at and fix a little bit, but other than that, we’ve won ten in a row, we have a solid foundation, just got to keep winning.”

Seattle Storm take final playoff spot with interim head coach

It has not been an easy season in Seattle. After a 10-16 start, the Storm fired their head coach Jenny Boucek, whose career record in Seattle was 36-58. Gary Kloppenburg took over on Aug. 12 and since then, things for the Storm have dramatically improved.

The Storm went 5-3 under their new coach, winning their first four games under his leadership. While their 15-19 record isn’t something to be overly excited about, it doesn’t reflect how well this team has been playing of late. With Breanna Stewart, Jewel Lloyd, and Sue Bird on the roster, this is a team to watch.

Dallas Wings will make first playoff appearance as a Texas team

The Dallas Wings who were previously the Tulsa Shock, who were previously the Detroit Shock, are headed to the playoffs for the first time as Dallas residents. The team moved to Dallas in just 2016 but finished 11-23 in a disappointing season. This year, led by Skylar Diggins-Smith, who has finally fully recovered from her ACL tear in 2015, it seems as if she and the Wings are finally finding their place in the league.


Single-Elimination Game Schedule

Round 1: Single elimination

Wednesday, Sept. 6: No. 7 Dallas at No. 6 Washington: (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Wednesday, Sept. 6: No. 8 Seattle at No. 5 Phoenix (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Round 2: Single elimination

Sunday, Sept. 10: Mercury/Storm at No. 4 Connecticut (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Sunday, Sept. 10: Wings/Mystics at No. 3 New York (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2)