The WNBA reached the final day of the regular season on Sunday, with three teams still holding out hope for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs. The Mystics were the first to play, needing a win over the Minnesota Lynx to lock up the 8-seed, but Minnesota had something to play for themselves, as a win gave them the 3-seed and moved Seattle to the four spot.
Despite a fourth quarter rally by Washington, the Lynx held on to win 83-77 to lock up the 3-seed and knock Washington out of the postseason. With the Mystics losing, the Sparks would have an opportunity to play their way into the 8-seed, as they had to beat 7-seed Dallas on the road, or else the Liberty would get in by virtue of the tiebreaker after beating Washington on Friday night. The Sparks and Wings battled in a tight game throughout, but Dallas was able to edge out a win behind 20 points from Arike Ogunbowale to leave the Sparks out of the playoffs and send the Liberty, one year removed from a 2-20 season, to the postseason.
It’s an incredible turnaround for the Liberty, led by Betnijah Laney, Natasha Howard, and Sabrina Ionescu, and their reward will be a matchup with Phoenix Mercury in a single-elimination game. The rest of the final WNBA standings look as such:
1. Connecticut Sun
2. Las Vegas Aces
3. Minnesota Lynx
4. Seattle Storm
5. Phoenix Mercury
6. Chicago Sky
7. Dallas Wings
8. New York Liberty
The first round games will be Mercury-Liberty and Sky-Wings, with the winners advancing to the second round for another single-elimination showdown with the Lynx and Storm, while the Sun and Aces get a double bye and will host a 5-game series in the WNBA semifinals. Teams are re-seeded after each round, so the Lynx will face the lowest-seeded first round winner and the Sun will face the lowest-seeded second round winner.