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WNBA Playoff Bracket 2018: Semifinals Matchups, TV, Live Stream Schedule

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2018

FILE - In this June 15, 2018, file photo, Seattle Storm's Breanna Stewart (30) celebrates a score against the Connecticut Sun in the second half of a WNBA basketball game, in Seattle. The WNBA season is nearing its midway point and it’s probably no surprise that Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle are at the top of the standings.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

The first two rounds of the 2018 WNBA playoffs are in the book, so now, the remaining four teams will battle for the championship.

A new champion will be crowned this year as the Minnesota Lynx were knocked out in the first round. While the reigning champs are out, there is still plenty of intrigue remaining.

Below is a look at all of the need-to-know information for the semifinals. The full bracket can be viewed on the WNBA's official website.

      

Atlanta Dream vs. Washington Mystics (Best-of-5)

Sunday, Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. ET (Game 1): Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. ET (Game 2): Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Friday, Aug. 31 at TBD (Game 3): Atlanta Dream at Washington MysticsESPNEWS/NBA TV, WatchESPN

Sunday, Sept. 2 at TBD (Game 4*) Atlanta Dream at Washington Mystics, ESPN2, WatchESPN

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Tuesday, Sept. 4 at TBD (Game 5*): Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream, ESPN2, WatchESPN

*If necessary

    

Atlanta earned home-court advantage in the semifinals by going an impressive 23-11 during the regular season, the second-best mark in the league. Now, it's time to see if it pays off.

Led by Tiffany Hayes (17.2 points and 3.6 rebounds), Angel McCoughtry (16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists) and Renee Montgomery (10.3 points and 3.7 assists), Atlanta features a balanced attack. It won seven of its final eight games to close out the regular season.

After failing to make the playoffs a season ago, the Dream are on the cusp of making it to their fourth WNBA Finals since 2010. They are, however, 0-3 in their Finals appearances, losing once to Seattle (2010) and twice to Minnesota (2011 and 2013).

Meanwhile, Washington is coming off a convincing 96-64 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks, a team that had made it to back-to-back Finals, including winning the title in 2016. Behind Elena Delle Donne, the Mystics controlled their second-round matchup from start to finish.

Delle Donne made her fifth All-Star team this season, averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 rebounds per game. She averaged 22.3 points and 12.0 rebounds against Atlanta during the regular season.

She also had some help in leading Washington to a 22-12 record, though. Kristi Toliver (13.9 points and 4.4 assists) and LaToya Sanders (10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds) were among the key contributors.

The Mystics are trying to raise a banner for the first time in franchise history; in fact, they've never even made it to the Finals in their 20-year history. They made it to the semifinals in 2017 but were swept by the Lynx. Now, they have another chance to finally get over the hump.

The Dream won two of the three regular-season meetings, although the Mystics won the final matchup back on July 31 in Atlanta.

     

Seattle Storm vs. Phoenix Mercury (Best-of-5)

Sunday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. ET (Game 1): Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 10 p.m. ET (Game 2): Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Friday, Aug. 31 at TBD (Game 3): Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury, ESPNEWS/NBA TV, WatchESPN

Sunday, Sept. 2 at TBD (Game 4*): Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Tuesday, Sept. 4 at TBD (Game 5*): Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm, ESPNEWS/NBA TV, WatchESPN

*If necessary

    

The Storm (26-8) ran away with the No. 1 seed, besting the Dream by three games. They enter the postseason riding momentum after winning eight of their last nine regular-season games, including a three-game winning streak to close out the regular season. 

As a result, they were able to grab home-court advantage, something that could loom large in the semifinals.

Of course, it helps to have Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year Breanna Stewart leading the way. The third-year forward averaged a career-high 21.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks this season. Don't forget about Storm legend Sue Bird, either, as she averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 assists during the regular season.

This is the deepest playoff run by Seattle since 2010, when the team won its second championship. It had been eliminated in the first round in each of the past two postseasons.

The semifinals appeared to be headed for chalk, but Phoenix decided to crash the party and upset the fourth-seeded Connecticut Sun 96-86 in the second round. That comes on the heels of a 101-83 victory over the Dallas Wings in the first round.

Once again, it was the Diana Taurasi-Brittney Griner show. The two starred all year for Phoenix, with Taurasi posting 20.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds while Griner added 20.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks during the regular season. With DeWanna Bonner putting up 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds as well, the Mercury have a talented trio that can be more than a handful.

Connecticut got a firsthand look at it, as Taurasi, Griner and Bonner combined for 77 of Phoenix's 96 points in the second round.

Phoenix is seeking its fourth championship, although it'd be the franchise's first since 2014. The Mercury have been knocked out in the semifinals in each of the last three postseasons.

The Mercury won the first regular-season meeting by five, but the Storm responded by taking the next two by 13.5 points.

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