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6 WNBA all-stars were eliminated in the first night of the playoffs. It’s that competitive.

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A single-elimination first round will send some of the league’s biggest names packing on the first night.

WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

There aren’t many words in pro sports scarier than “single elimination playoff game,” and that’s exactly what basketball fans got in the first round of the WNBA playoffs. The first night of the postseason, featured a doubleheader of Dallas Wings vs. Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx vs. Los Angeles Sparks both stacked with all-star rosters left and right.

In fact, there are so many stars on tap that we had to say goodbye to some of the best players in the league just five hours into the playoffs.

6 WNBA all-stars were eliminated on Tuesday because these playoffs are wild

Dallas fell at the hands of the Mercury dropping our first two stars. Dallas has been powered by the two-headed monster of Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith all season long. Cambage led the league in scoring (23.4 points per game) this season, while Diggins-Smith is enjoying a career-high assist year. Now we’ll have to wait a year to see them again.

And that’s just the first game.

The Lynx vs. Sparks rivalry showdown was a rematch of the last two WNBA Finals, both of which came down to the final moments of a decisive Game 5. Tuesday night was no different.

But the Lynx’s supporting cast aged quickly, causing them to finish just two games above .500 and fall to the No. 7 seed, and eventually to the Sparks on Tuesday.

Minnesota had four all-stars on tap, headlined by reigning back-to-back All-Star Game MVP Maya Moore. Legendary point guard Lindsay Whalen announced her Hall of Fame career will come to an end when this season is over. Sylvia Fowles is the league’s reigning regular-season MVP, and Seimone Augustus is a dynamic perimeter player who rounds out the Lynx starting lineup. On paper, it’s hard to believe this team should have underperformed like this.


A ton of talented WNBA players were sent home Tuesday night as a result of the single-elimination first-round playoff format. It’s hard to see the WNBA changing the playoff format anytime soon — it’s served the league well since it was introduced two years ago and certainly adds to the drama this season.