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2021 WNBA playoffs: How to watch, format, standings

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A'ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces are the No. 2 seed in the 2021 WNBA playoffs.
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With the No. 8 playoff spot coming down to the final day of the WNBA regular season, the stage is now set for the postseason, which begins this Thursday.

The Washington Mystics controlled their own destiny on Sunday: A win over the Minnesota Lynx would have secured Washington the No. 8 seed. When the Mystics fell short, the Los Angeles Sparks also faced a "win and we're in" situation -- and similarly failed to deliver, losing to the Dallas Wings, who’d already been eliminated from the postseason. As a result, the New York Liberty, who finished their regular season on Friday, snuck in as the last team in the playoffs. 

The Lynx's victory on Sunday clinched the No. 3 seed, sending the Seattle Storm to the No. 4 seed. The Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces had already secured the coveted double byes to the semifinals as the top two seeds, cementing them as favorites to win the title. Since the current playoff system was established, every WNBA champion has had a double bye.

Here's everything you need to know about the 2021 WNBA playoffs.

When are the 2021 WNBA Playoffs?

The 2021 WNBA playoffs begin with the single-elimination first round on Thursday, Sept. 23:

  • No. 7 Dallas Wings at No. 6 Chicago Sky, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2
  • No. 8 New York Liberty at No. 5 Phoenix Mercury, 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2

After each round, the teams are reseeded. The single-elimination second round takes place on Sunday, Sept. 26, with game times to be determined:

  • TBD at No. 3 Minnesota Lynx
  • TBD at No. 4 Seattle Storm

The Sun and the Aces will face the winners of the second round in the best-of-five semifinals, with games in both series scheduled for the following days:

 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 28
  • Thursday, Sept. 30
  • Sunday, Oct. 3
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6*
  • Friday, Oct. 8*

The WNBA Finals are scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • Sunday, Oct. 10, 3 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Friday, Oct. 15, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2
  • Sunday, Oct. 17, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2*
  • Tuesday, Oct. 19, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2

*If necessary

How can I watch the 2021 WNBA Playoffs?

All 19 WNBA playoff games will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2. You can stream every game at ESPN.com or the ESPN app.

What are the WNBA standings?

Here are the final regular-season standings:

  1. Connecticut Sun (26-6)
  2. Las Vegas Aces (24-8)
  3. Minnesota Lynx (22-10)
  4. Seattle Storm (21-11)
  5. Phoenix Mercury (19-13)
  6. Chicago Sky (16-16)
  7. Dallas Wings (14-18)
  8. New York Liberty (12-20)
  9. Washington Mystics (12-20)
  10. Los Angeles Sparks (12-19)
  11. Atlanta Dream (8-24)
  12. Indiana Fever (6-26)