The race for the 2022 WNBA title is on.
In a revamped format, eight teams will be going at it for the chance to lift the championship come September.
Last year, the Chicago Sky made a surprising run as the No. 6 seed to win the title against the No. 5-seeded Phoenix Mercury, but Candace Parker and Co. will be on many teams’ radars as the action heats up.
Here is everything you need to know about the 2022 WNBA Playoffs bracket:
When do the 2022 WNBA Playoffs start?
The first set of games will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The No. 1-seeded Las Vegas Aces will take on No. 8 Mercury, while No. 2 Sky will face the No. 7-seeded New York Liberty.
What is the format of the 2022 WNBA Playoffs?
The format is undergoing another change this year. The top eight teams with the highest winning percentage qualified, regardless of conference, and the bracket is not divided between East and West. And unlike previous years, all eight teams will play in the first round. Usually the top-four seeds would receive a bye for at least the first round (the top two didn’t play until the semifinals), but that is not the case this time.
Round 1 will be a best-of-three series with the higher seed hosting the first two games in a 2-1 format. That means the team with the lower seed will not get to host a playoff game if they lose two in a row.
The semifinals and finals will be a best-of-five affair that will follow a 2-2-1 format, with the higher seed hosting the first two contests and Game 5, if necessary.
What was the previous WNBA playoffs format?
Since 2016, the WNBA playoffs featured two single-elimination rounds. The first round put the 5-8 and 6-7 seeds in a game. The winners would move onto the second round where they would face either the No. 3 or 4 seed in another one-game series.
After that, the semifinals was a best-of-five series against either the No. 1 or 2 seed, which culminated in a best-of-five finals series for the last two teams still fighting.
What is the bracket for the 2022 WNBA Playoffs?
The bracket follows a traditional route for 1-8 seeding. The winner of the 1-8 matchup will play the winner of the 4-5 matchup, while the winner of the 2-7 series will take on the victor from the 3-6 series in the semifinals.
The two teams that win their respective semifinals matchups will meet in the finals.
Here are the matchups for the 2022 WNBA Playoffs:
No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 8 Phoenix Mercury
No. 4 Seattle Storm vs. No. 5 Washington Mystics
No. 2 Chicago Sky vs. No. 7 New York Liberty