New WNBA format sets up playoff after Olympic break

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The new WNBA playoff format involving the top eight teams will set up an exciting last few weeks of the season when the league returns from the monthlong Olympic break.

Los Angeles and Minnesota have already clinched playoff spots and look to be near locks for the top two seeds. With that comes a bye to the semifinals. New York is almost assured of the three seed, barring a major collapse in September. Those three teams have pretty much led The Associated Press WNBA power poll all season.

The rest of the playoff picture is wide open with eight teams within 4.5 games of each other. Whoever finishes fourth will get a first-round bye along with New York, while the fifth through eighth teams will face off for one game in opening-round matches.

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“It’s definitely different and you want to at least get one of those first-round byes,” Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings said. “Those last few weeks when we come back should be exciting.”