WNBA Playoff Bracket 2020: Full Schedule and Matchups for Entire Postseason

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 13, 2020

Washington Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen (2) is congratulated by guard Ariel Atkins after Hines-Allen made a 3-point basket as time expired in the first half of the team's WNBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Sparks, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The WNBA playoff bracket is set after the conclusion of regular-season play on Sunday.

The eight-team field wasn't decided until the very last regular-season game after the Washington Mystics beat the Atlanta Dream 85-78 to grab the eighth and final playoff berth.

The No. 1 seed wasn't confirmed until the game before, when the Las Vegas Aces beat the Seattle Storm 86-84 to assume their standing atop the WNBA.

Now the WNBA's 22-game regular season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida is complete, and the gauntlet portion of the league's playoffs is set to begin Tuesday.

The Storm follow the Aces in the seeding, finishing No. 2 and earning a bye into the semifinals. The Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx ended third and fourth, respectively and will skip the first round.

The Phoenix Mercury, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun and Mystics round out the playoff field in order from fifth to eighth. All four teams will play Tuesday in Round 1 in a single-elimination battle.

An explanation of the WNBA's unique playoff format, which was introduced in 2016, can be found below:

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Here's a look at the playoff bracket, the day and time slots and television coverage and some postseason notes in reverse order of the playoff field seeds.


Playoff Bracket 

Round 1 (single elimination): No. 5 Phoenix Mercury vs. No. 8 Washington Mystics, No. 6 Chicago Sky vs. No. 7 Connecticut Sun

Round 2 (single elimination): No. 4 Minnesota Lynx vs. Highest Seed Remaining, No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks vs. Lowest Seed Remaining

Semifinals (best-of-five): No. 2 Seattle Storm vs. Highest Seed Remaining, No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. Lowest Seed Remaining

Finals (best-of-five): Semifinal winner vs. Semifinal winner


Playoff Schedule

Tues., Sept. 15 (Round 1): No. 6 Chicago Sky vs. No. 7 Connecticut Sun, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Tues., Sept. 15 (Round 1): No. 5 Phoenix Mercury vs. No. 8 Washington Mystics9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Tues., Sept. 17 (Round 2): 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Tues., Sept. 17 (Round 2): 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Sun., Sept. 20 (Semifinals, Game 1): 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Sun., Sept. 20 (Semifinals, Game 1): 3 p.m. ET (ABC)

Tues., Sept. 22 (Semifinals, Game 2): 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Tues., Sept. 22 (Semifinals, Game 2): 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Thurs., Sept. 24 (Semifinals, Game 3): 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Thurs., Sept. 24 (Semifinals, Game 3): 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Sun., Sept. 27 (Semifinals, Game 4, if necessary): 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Sun., Sept. 27 (Semifinals, Game 4, if necessary): 3 p.m. ET (ABC)

Tues., Sept. 29 (Semifinals, Game 5, if necessary): 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Tues., Sept. 29 (Semifinals, Game 5, if necessary): 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Fri., Oct. 2 (Finals, Game 1): 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Sun., Oct. 4 (Finals, Game 2): 3 p.m. ET (ABC)

Tues., Oct. 6 (Finals, Game 3)7 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Thu., Oct. 8 (Finals, Game 4, if necessary): 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Sat., Oct. 10 (Finals, Game 5, if necessary): 3 p.m. ET (ABC)

Source: ca.nba.com


Washington Mystics

Despite missing reigning WNBA MVP Elena Della Donne and Natasha Cloud for the entire season, Aerial Powers for all but six games and Stella Johnson for all but five, the defending WNBA champion Washington Mystics snuck into the playoffs after winning their last four games and five of their last six.

It's been the Myisha Hines-Allen show for the Mystics, who have taken down three playoff teams in the Lynx, Mercury and Sky en route to their 5-1 regular-season-ending run.

Hines-Allen's last six game stat lines for points and rebounds read as follows: 19 and 10, 20 and 13, 26 and nine, 30 and eight, 25 and 11 and 16 and 10. In total, she averaged 22.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during that stretch. For good measure, she added 20 assists and nine steals.

Her efforts helped Washington overcome its shorthanded roster as well as a 1-12 stretch that lasted over half of the 22-game regular season.

Keep an eye out for Ariel Atkins and Emma Meesseman as well if the Mystics can manage a magical playoff run.

Atkins dropped a game-high 25 points in Washington's playoff-clinching win over Atlanta, and Meesseman has continued her steady, consistent production with 14 or more points in seven of her last eight games.


Connecticut Sun

Last year's WNBA runner-up should have much of a problem hanging with any team down low thanks to the frontcourt duo of DeWanna Bonner (19.7 points, 7.8 rebounds) and Alyssa Thomas (15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds), who wreck havoc on a nightly basis.

The issue is the team has trouble shooting the three ball, hitting just 31.2 percent of their attempts, the WNBA's second-worst mark.

Sure, the Sun's defense is largely spectacular (fourth in defensive rating), but it can only keep them in games so long if the three ball isn't falling.

On the bright side, if the opposing team is in a shooting slump, Bonner and Thomas should vacuum the boards and give the Sun chances to pull off upsets.

That could happen against the Sky, who ended the season in a 2-7 slump. The two teams split their season series at one game apiece.


Chicago Sky

The Sky are left wondering what might have been had they not suffered key injuries to Diamond DeShields and Azurá Stevens, both of whom are no longer with the team in the bubble.

DeShields, the Sky's 2019 leading scorer, battled injuries just to stay on the court for 2020 but was forced to the sidelines after 13 games. Stevens had just dropped 25 points and seven rebounds in a win over the New York Liberty on Aug. 20 but had to leave as well.

A 10-4 start then tailspun into a 2-6 finish, including a loss to the 2-20 New York Liberty. That left the Sky in the first-round, single-elimination portion of the bracket.

All things are possible via WNBA assist leader Courtney Vandersloot, who can make a case for being the league's most criminally underrated player (only two All-Star Game nods, somehow), but the shorthanded Sky have a tall order ahead based off their recent performances.

They'll open the playoffs against the Sun, who beat the Sky 77-74 and lost to them 100-93.


Phoenix Mercury

One can make a case that there's a sizable gap between the top five and everyone else in the WNBA.

That's a roundabout way of writing that the Mercury are the tough-luck losers of the playoff draw after finishing 13-9, which gives them the same playoff status as the 8-14 Wings in the single-elimination gauntlet.

A Mercury team featuring some of the game's all-time greats in Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith now has zero wiggle room in its quest for the WNBA semifinals.

This team has the skills, resume and experience to get the job done, but without Brittney Griner, who left the bubble for personal reasons, it may be a tall order, especially against teams with talented backcourts like the franchises above them in the standings.

However, their impressive 6-0 stretch in the back half of the WNBA regular season shouldn't be discounted. If they bring that magic to the playoffs, then they'll be very tough to beat.


Minnesota Lynx

The Lynx have featured Sylvia Fowles, a two-time WNBA champion, two-time WNBA Finals MVP and six-time WNBA All-Star, for only seven games as the veteran recovers from a calf strain. No timetable for her return has been made public, so it's conceivable that we have seen the last of her in 2020.

That's a tough blow for the Lynx, who could use her 14.6 points on 60.9 percent shooting and 9.7 rebounds per game. Minnesota went 5-1 with the 6'6" forward before she suffered the injury one minute into a loss against the Las Vegas Aces on Aug. 13.

Still, Minnesota has persevered well enough to go 9-6 without her taking the court. The offense rolls through the trio of Crystal Dangerfield, Napheesa Collier and Damiris Dantas, who combine to average over 45 points per game.

Collier also grabs 9.0 rebounds per game, while Dangerfield leads the Lynx with 3.6 dimes on average.

Minnesota enters the playoffs as losers of three of its last four, with the lone exception a win over the ninth-place Indiana Fever. A tough matchup with the Mercury, who the Lynx split their season series with this year, awaits if the No. 5 seed can beat the Wings in the first round.


Los Angeles Sparks

The Los Angeles Sparks entered the "wubble" shorthanded sans Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver, but they still managed to finish third in the regular season at 15-7.

Five-time WNBA All-Star Candace Parker paced the team with 14.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Nneka Ogwumike, the older sister of Chiney, has been incredibly efficient with 13.3 points on 56.9 percent shooting while hitting half of her three-pointers.

Overall, five Sparks players averaged double digits in points, with Chelsea Gray (14.0), Riquna Williams (10.5) and Brittney Sykes (10.1) rounding out that group. Gray leads the team with 5.3 assists per game, followed closely by Parker at 4.6 dimes.

A nine-game win streak propelled the Sparks from sitting in the middle of the WNBA standings at 3-3 to flying to the upper tier at 12-3. L.A. struggled down the stretch, though, going 3-4 to finish the season.

The Sparks went winless against the top two seeds and split their season series versus the Lynx and Mercury, but they went 5-1 against the Sun, Sky and Mystics, so the clear edge goes to L.A. in its single-game second-round matchup, which can only be against those three latter teams.


Seattle Storm

The Storm went 18-4 despite missing Sue Bird, one of the greatest basketball players in the sport's history, for half the season with a left knee bone bruise. Despite that void, the Storm went 8-3 without her, showcasing the team's elite talent and depth.

They have a net rating of 15.0, and to put that in context, Las Vegas is in a distant second at 10. They also have an 11.5-point differential.

Seattle also rolls into the playoffs as winners of seven straight before the tough loss to the Aces, which occurred without the services of Bird and Stewart (concussion protocol).

The Storm have beaten teams by 41, 37, 24 and 23 points (twice), in addition to eight other double-digit victories.

Sure, the team has a dominant star in Stewart, but eight players average six or more points per game and shoot 43 percent or better from the field.

The question is how healthy the team can get from now until when they will start the playoffs on Sunday. The Storm are clearly a top-two WNBA team and could likely advance to the Finals shorthanded against whatever opponent goes its way, but taking down the Aces without a full deck is tough.

Still, the Storm have stars like Jewell Loyd (14.5 points per game and 30 against the Aces Sunday) and Natasha Howard (9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds) to get the job done.

After all, the Storm lost three games all year before Sunday, so asking any team to beat them three times within a five-game span is a tall order.


Las Vegas Aces

The Aces are without the services of superstars Liz Cambage and Kelsey Plum, but they somehow earned the No. 1 seed anyway thanks to a six-game win streak to close its season.

Five Aces averaged double-digits in scoring, led by A'ja Wilson's 20.4 points per game. 

Angel McCoughtry has been sharp from behind the three-point line, and she finished second in scoring despite playing only 20 minutes per contest.

Dearica Hamby is second on the team in boards per game, Danielle Robinson made half percent of her field goals while leading the team in assists and Kayla McBride and Jackie Young combined to average about 24 points per game.

No team scored more than the Aces this year, with the team finishing No. 1 in points per game.

An Aces vs. Storm three-out-of-five matchup almost seems inevitable. The two teams finished with matching 18-4 records, three games better than anyone else in the field.

Las Vegas may have the edge there, as it beat Seattle twice. However, Bird didn't play in either loss, and Stewart sat the most recent defeat.

Still, the Vegas offense is deep and relentless, and that should prove to be a problem regardless of whom is on the court for the Storm. But if Stewart and Bird can be back in time for the Finals, then expect an absolute high-scoring barnburner of a series that could go either way.