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WNBA playoffs: Seeding, matchups and full schedule

The Chicago Sky begin the WNBA playoffs looking to repeat as champions. (Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)

The WNBA regular season closed out with a frantic final day of action Sunday. Now all eyes turn to the postseason.

Eight teams will face off in the WNBA playoffs, which are set to kick off on Aug. 17. The league’s postseason will feature three rounds, with best-of-three first-round series followed by best-of-five semifinals and finals.

Check out every team in the postseason, in order of seeding, as well as the matchups and the full WNBA playoff schedule.

WNBA playoff seeding

1. Las Vegas Aces

The Las Vegas Aces booked their tickets to the WNBA playoffs with an 84-66 blowout over the Los Angeles Sparks on July 23.

An explosive offense propelled the Aces to a postseason berth, with Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson leading the team’s scoring tear. Las Vegas’ perimeter presence has been overwhelming, leading the league in points per game and 3-pointers made.

First-round opponent: No. 8 Phoenix Mercury

2. Chicago Sky

The 2021 WNBA champions were the first team to clinch a postseason berth, securing their place in the playoffs with a 78-74 victory over the Seattle Storm on July 20.

Chicago’s dominant 2022 campaign is a far cry from the team’s 2021 season, which the Sky finished with a 16-16 record. Chicago finished the season with a franchise record .722 win percentage.

First-round opponent: No. 7 New York Liberty

3. Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun clinched their spot with an 88-83 win over the Seattle Storm in what could be Sue Bird’s final game in Connecticut on July 28.

While the storyline for the game lent itself toward retiring legend Bird, Alyssa Thomas was the standout performer, notching 19 points, five rebounds and 11 assists while shooting 8-of-11 from the field.

The Sun have been red-hot since the All-Star break and they’ll look to carry that momentum into the postseason.

First-round opponent: No. 6 Dallas Wings

4. Seattle Storm

The Seattle storm sealed their postseason fate with an 82-77 win over the Washington Mystics on July 30, clinching the team’s 18th playoff appearance.

Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Tina Charles led the charge for the Storm, contributing 18, 17 and 16 points, respectively. Seattle will rely on their offensive trio in the postseason as the Storm looks to send Bird into retirement with a title.

First-round opponent: No. 5 Washington Mystics

5. Washington Mystics 

The Washington Mystics clinched a playoff berth behind the Atlanta Dream’s July 30 loss to the Dallas Wings.

The Mystics then charged to a 78-75 victory over Seattle Storm on July 31, but the Storm won the season series 2-1, which could bode well for Seattle in the best-of-three first round series.

First-round opponent: No. 4 Seattle Storm

6. Dallas Wings

The Wings clinched their postseason berth on Aug. 8 with an 86-77 win over the New York Liberty.

Despite being without Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, the team stepped up. Marina Mabrey had 31 points in the win to help send Dallas to the playoffs.

First-round opponent: No. 3 Connecticut Sun

7. New York Liberty

For the second year in a row, the New York Liberty are in the WNBA playoffs after beating Atlanta 87-83 in their season finale to secure their spot. Natasha Howard and Marine Johannes combined for 36 points while Stefanie Dolson added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

First-round opponent: No. 2 Chicago Sky

8. Phoenix Mercury

With a Minnesota Lynx loss on Sunday, the Mercury clinched the eighth seed in the playoffs despite an 82-67 loss to the Chicago Sky to close out the season.

The availability of injured star Diana Taurasi remains up in the air for the first round, as does the availability of Skylar Diggins-Smith, who missed the last three games due to personal reasons.

First-round opponent: No. 1 Las Vegas Aces

WNBA playoff schedule

First round:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 17:
    • (2) Chicago Sky vs. (7) New York Liberty @ 8 p.m. on ESPN2
    • (1) Las Vegas Aces vs. (8) Phoenix Mercury @ 10 p.m. on ESPN
  • Thursday, Aug. 18:
    • (3) Connecticut Sun vs. (6) Dallas Wings @ 8 p.m. on ESPNU/NBA TV
    • (4) Seattle Storm vs. (5) Washington Mystics @ 10 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Saturday, Aug. 20:
    • (2) Chicago Sky vs. (7) New York Liberty @ 12 p.m. on ESPN
    • (1) Las Vegas Aces vs. (8) New York Liberty @ 9 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Sunday, Aug. 21:
    • (3) Connecticut Sun vs. (6) Dallas Wings @ 12 p.m. on ABC
    • (4) Seattle Storm vs. (5) Washington Mystics @ 4 p.m. on ESPN
  • Tuesday, Aug. 23:
    • (2) Chicago Sky at (7) New York Liberty @ TBD*
    • (1) Las Vegas Aces at (8) Phoenix Mercury @ TBD*
  • Wednesday, Aug. 24:
    • (3) Connecticut Sun at (6) Dallas Wings @ TBD*
    • (4) Seattle Storm at (5) Washington Mystics @ TBD*

Semifinals:

  • Sunday, Aug. 28: Game 1 @ 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN2
  • Wednesday, Aug. 31: Game 2 @ 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Sunday, Sept. 4: Game 3 @ 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on ESPN2 and ABC
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6: Game 4* @ 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Thursday, Sept. 8: Game 5* @ 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on ESPN2

Finals:

  • Sunday, Sept. 11: Game 1 @ 3 p.m. on ABC
  • Tuesday, Sept. 13: Game 2 @ 9 p.m. on ESPN
  • Thursday, Sept. 15: Game 3 @ 9 p.m. on ESPN
  • Sunday, Sept. 18: Game 4* @ 3 p.m. on ESPN
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20: Game 5* @ 9 p.m. on ESPN

*If necessary. All times listed in ET.

Esme Morgan Signs With Washington Spirit

Esme Morgan of England inspects the pitch prior to the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match between England and France
The England national will join the Spirit in DC on July 15th. (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

English defender Esme Morgan has signed with the Washington Spirit, the club announced Thursday. 

Morgan had been with WSL side Manchester City since 2017, with one year remaining on her contract. She’ll now make a move to the NWSL, with City receiving a fee for the move. 

"I wanted to join the Spirit because they have the ambition and tools to be the best team in the NWSL, and trying to achieve that will be a great but enjoyable challenge," Morgan said in a club statement.

"On an individual level too, the opportunity to work under Jonatan [Giráldez], one of the world's best coaches, is really exciting and I look forward to learning from him and pushing myself to become the best player I can be, hopefully helping the team to success."

According to ESPN, Morgan’s lack of playing time under City manager Gareth Taylor played a key role in her decision to leave the league championship runners-up. She’ll join the Spirit in Washington, DC on July 15th, but won’t be able to begin play until August. 

Spirit president Mark Krikorian called Morgan an "exceptional talent" and added that the club is "thrilled" to add her to the roster.

"I think she’s pretty talented," Giraldez told reporters on Friday. "A young player with a great future, but with experience already in a great league and with the national team. She’s been surrounded by great players and also great coaches, so she can give us experience."

Ledecky Goes for 4 at Olympic Swimming Trials

Swimmer katie ledecky swimming at Toyota US Open
Decorated swimmer Katie Ledecky is aiming to make her fourth-straight Olympic squad. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Swimming Trials begin this weekend, running from June 15th through June 23rd in Indianapolis, with Katie Ledecky eyeing her fourth-straight Summer Games.

While traditionally held in Omaha, Indiana's Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, has been fitted with a 50-meter pool to host the meet that will determine the 2024 Paris Olympics roster.

All eyes will be on seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who will be competing in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle — all events in which she’s been an Olympic champion. 

Rival Ariarne Titmus had her trials last week, breaking the world record in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky’s 200 is intended to qualify her for the Olympic relay. Meanwhile stateside, Katie Grimes stands to be a challenger in the 1500-meter freestyle has already qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 10km open water event.

Other competitors of note include 47-year-old Gabrielle Rose, who stands to become the oldest US Swimming Olympic qualifier in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

Additionally, Kate Douglass — an NCAA and World Champion — is a favorite to make her first Olympic team in the 200-meter IM and 200-meter breaststroke. Simone Manuel, an Olympic champion in the 100-meter freestyle, is also looking to make her third-straight Olympics.

Where to watch: The Trials will be streaming all week on Peacock, with later qualifying heats airing live on USA Network and event finals airing in primetime on NBC.

Orlando and Kansas City Shoot for 13 in NWSL Weekend Action

NWSL's T. Chawinga #6 of the Kansas City Current passes the ball during the first half of their game against the Utah Royals FC
The Kansas City Current hopes to extend its NWSL unbeaten streak to 13 with a win over Chicago. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The 13th match weekend is fast approaching in the NWSL, with two season-long unbeaten streaks on the line.

League-leaders Kansas City and Orlando will attempt to survive the weekend with their unbeaten runs intact, as the Current host Chicago on Friday and the Pride travel to North Carolina for Saturday's match.

But while Kansas City and Orlando have been the gold standard this year, they're still a number of wins away from tying Washington's record for longest unbeaten streak in a single NWSL season. In 2021, the Spirit went 20 games without a loss en route to the club's first NWSL championship.

Both Gotham and Louisville are carrying momentum into their matchup on Saturday. Louisville is unbeaten in three games, and they’re looking to finally leapfrog Chicago and claim sixth place in the league standings. Gotham, on a seven-game unbeaten run, is into fifth place.

Portland and Seattle will face off in the Cascadia Clash this weekend, with Golden Boot contender Sophia Smith absent, as the decorated forward was shown a red card last weekend for time-wasting on the bench.

The Reign could use a win against their long-time rivals, as a difficult start has 13th-place Seattle registering only two wins amid nine losses so far this season.

Elsewhere in the league, 2024 expansion teams Bay FC and Utah meet for the first time this weekend, as both look to rise from the bottom half of the standings. And Washington will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against a San Diego side that's earned two hard-fought draws in recent weeks.

Watch more: "Sophia Smith is INNOCENT!" on The Late Sub with Claire Watkins

WNBA All-Star Voting Starts on June 13th

Phoenix Mercury mascot Scorch waving a 2024 WNBA All-Star flag at a 2023 home game.
Phoenix Mercury will host the 20th-annual All-Star Game on July 20th, 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via WNBA.com or the WNBA App.

Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

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