The Chicago Sky became the final team to clinch a spot in the 2023 WNBA playoffs on Sept. 8.
With a 92-87 win against the Minnesota Lynx, the Sky join the Lynx, Las Vegas Aces, New York Liberty, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, Washington Mystics and Atlanta Dream in the postseason.
The Aces (32-6) are in the midst of a historic run. On Aug. 1, six weeks before the start of the postseason, they punched their ticket. And they have surpassed the 2014 Phoenix Mercury (29-5) for the most wins in WNBA history.
But Las Vegas has faced a setback in the loss of Candace Parker to a broken foot, an absence felt in the Aces’ 82-63 loss to the Liberty in the Commissioner’s Cup final on Aug. 15. And the Sun are solidifying their spot just behind the superteams as the season reaches the home stretch.
The 2023 WNBA playoffs will begin on Sept. 13, with eight teams qualifying for the postseason and the first-round best-of-three series. Just Women’s Sports is keeping track of which teams have clinched playoff spots — and which teams have been eliminated from contention.
For the second consecutive year, the Aces are looking to clinch the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs. They booked their ticket to the postseason with a 93-72 win over Atlanta on Aug. 1, led by a 24-point performance by Jackie Young and a 20-point, 11-rebound performance from 2022 MVP A’ja Wilson.
The Liberty secured a playoff spot for the third year in a row following losses by the Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream on Aug. 10. In its 27-year history, New York has reached the postseason 18 times.
With a 79-73 win against the Chicago Sky on Aug. 20, the Sun clinched their seventh consecutive trip to the postseason, a franchise record.
With the help of a 40-point night from Satou Sabally, the Wings clinched their spot in the postseason with a 110-100 win over Indiana on Sept. 1. With the loss, the Fever were eliminated from playoff contention, joining the Storm and the Mercury.
The Lynx clinched their spot in the WNBA playoffs with an 86-73 win over the Mercury on Sept. 3. The accomplishment represents a huge turnaround for a team that started the season 0-6 and missed the playoffs last season.
“When you walked in the gym, you wouldn’t know the team was 0-6,” head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was a group that felt like we weren’t that far off. And they believed in themselves, and in each other.
“I just told the group, they deserve this. It’s just a step. We wanted to get back to the playoffs, certainly, after missing last year. But this is a team that’s got a belief in themselves.”
The Mystics secured their berth with a win over the Mercury on Sept. 5, just two days after the Lynx and with two games to og in the regular season. Washington has struggled with injury all season, but they’ve been heating up as the postseason nears.
“A little bit of relief,” head coach Eric Thibault said about securing a playoff spot. “Now we can just focus on being as good as we can be. We’ve got a couple more games that we want to win, that we want to play better. But, you know, bought ourselves a ticket here. We don’t take these opportunities for granted.”
Of course, now seeding comes into play, with the Mystics having the chance to overtake Minnesota.
“We [kept] saying, ‘Oh, we win, we clinch. Oh, we win, we clinch,’” Mystics guard Brittney Sykes said. “I literally looked at everybody and I was like, ‘Let’s just f—ing win.’ Let’s just win, and then everything else on the back end we can figure out. … Now we can talk about seeding.
“But we still need to win those two damn games because we have a chance to finish out even at the end of the year.”
With a win against the Storm on Sept. 6, the Dream secured their first postseason appearance since 2018. Just one player remains from that 2018 squad: forward Monique Billings, who finished with a double-double (14 points, 15 rebounds) in the playoff-clinching win against Seattle.
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Sky and Sparks had matching 16-22 records, but the Sky hold the tiebreaker. So with Chicago’s win Friday and the Sparks’ loss Thursday, the Sky clinched the final postseason berth with one game to spare.