All Scores

Arike Ogunbowale powered Dallas to a win on Wednesday, with 14 of her 25 points coming in the fourth quarter. 

Despite trailing 75-73 with 3:16 to go, the Wings rattled off the next 14 points to beat the Chicago Sky 87-79. As a whole, the Wings shot 100% on eight shots in the final five minutes of the game. 

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"I don't know. I mean, I was dead, honestly," Ogunbowale said after Dallas's comeback win. "Maddy [Siegrist] came to me and said, 'The Lord renews your strength.' And the last five minutes, we went crazy."

Postgame, head coach Latricia Trammell applauded her team’s ability to handle the Sky’s pressure.

"We know basketball is a game of surges," Trammell said. "You just gotta weather the storm because we were gonna go on our runs as well."

While Chicago was unable to find an answer for Dallas’ fourth-quarter surge, Sky rookie Angel Reese had a solid professional debut. Her first WNBA bucket came in the third quarter, and she finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, joining the remaining four Sky starters in double-digit scoring.  

Of Reese's 12 points, seven came in the fourth quarter.

"She's [Angel Reese] a great player on and off the court," Ogunbowale said of the LSU alum's performance. "This is her first game. Obviously, she has a long career, this is a good start."

While rapper Latto was in the building for the Sky game, Kim Kardashian dropped by the Los Angeles Sparks game with daughter North to see the Sparks took on Atlanta. Rookies Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson both made their WNBA debuts, while Layshia Clarendon had their first career triple-double.

Brink finished with 11 points, four assists, and two blocks, but got into foul trouble with five fouls in 20 minutes. 

Atlanta would have the last word, thanks to Rhyne Howard leaving behind some broken ankles in her 25-point performance.

The Caitlin Clark WNBA era has officially begun, with the star-studded rookie making her preseason debut with the Indiana Fever on Friday. 

Clark scored a team-leading 21 points — including five threes — and recorded a game-high 16 points at the half. But it was Arike Ogunbowale who got the last word for Dallas, knocking down a splashy buzzer-beating three-pointer in front of the sold-out crowd to deliver the Wings the 79-76 win.

"I think there's gonna be a lot to go back and look at and learn from, because a lot of it is kind of different from college," Clark said shortly after the Fever's loss. "Just from, you know, a technique standpoint or you know, scheme standpoint, and what we do is not always always going to be the same. So I think those are the biggest things, but I think overall, I just played really hard and that's always something to be proud of."

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For Clark, the biggest transition challenges lie in WNBA's physicality and talent levels. 

"No matter who steps into the game, you can never really relax, because that’s how competitive the league is," she added.

Fever coach Christie Sides also commented on's Clark on-court adjustment in her postgame remarks. Noting that the team will have to take steps to protect their star as she navigates the W's upgraded athleticism, Sides shared that at one point in the game, Clark was "completely gassed" and called for a sub. 

"We have to do better, we can't let her get to that point," Sides said. "She just won't be able to last and the way people are guarding her — I mean, she's seeing a double team, she's seeing hard hedges, they're being real physical with her. That's how it's going to be for her. And so we've got to make sure we're doing what we can to protect her so she's able to go into fourth at the same level she is in the first."

Clark wasn't the only rookie making their pro debut in Dallas that night. Ohio State ace Jacy Sheldon racked up six points and one rebound in her 13 minutes on the court (plus an unfortunate viral moment), but the breakout performance of the night went to Jaelyn Brown, a Cal grad who went undrafted in 2020 and spent the last few years playing overseas. On Friday, she carried the Wings to the finish line with 21 points in 29 minutes on 7-of-15 shooting.

After the game, Brown attested that she's "ready to compete" in an atmosphere that she "belongs in."

"I just try and treat it as any other game," she continued. "The crowd was amazing, it’s a little different from overseas, a little bit, but it’s the same game. I just [came] out there with a calm composure and did what I can do."

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

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According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

The Las Vegas Aces clinched a second consecutive title, winning the battle of the superteams against the New York Liberty in the 2023 WNBA Finals.

The defending WNBA champions, the Aces locked down the No. 1 seed in the playoffs for the second consecutive season. They dominated the Chicago Sky in the first round, then swept the Dallas Wings in the semifinals. The Liberty defeated the Washington Mystics and then the Connecticut Sun to reach the championship series.

The Aces became the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002. The Liberty failed to disrupt their plans, despite entering the playoffs with a 3-2 advantage in the season series against Las Vegas. Both teams entered the playoffs as clear favorites to reach the Finals.

Just Women’s Sports has the full breakdown of the bracket, schedule and results from the Aces’ title run.

2023 WNBA playoffs: Full results

First round

  • (1) Las Vegas Aces eliminated (8) Chicago Sky, 2-0
    • Game 1: Aces 87, Sky 59
    • Game 2: Aces 92, Sky 70
  • (2) New York Liberty eliminated (7) Washington Mystics, 2-0
    • Game 1: Liberty 90, Mystics 75
    • Game 2: Liberty 90, Mystics 85 (OT)
  • (3) Connecticut Sun eliminated (6) Minnesota Lynx, 2-1
    • Game 1: Sun 90, Lynx 60
    • Game 2: Sun 75, Lynx 82
    • Game 3: Sun 90, Lynx 75
  • (4) Dallas Wings eliminated (5) Atlanta Dream, 2-0
    • Game 1: Wings 94, Dream 82
    • Game 2: Wings 101, Dream 74

Semifinals

  • (1) Las Vegas Aces eliminated (4) Dallas Wings, 3-0
    • Game 1: Aces 97, Wings 83
    • Game 2: Aces 91, Wings 84
    • Game 3: Aces 64, Wings 61
  • (2) New York Liberty eliminated (3) Connecticut Sun, 3-1
    • Game 1: Sun 78, Liberty 63
    • Game 2: Liberty 84, Sun 77
    • Game 3: Liberty 92, Sun 81
    • Game 4: Liberty 87, Sun 84

Finals

  • (1) Las Vegas Aces lead (2) New York Liberty, 2-1
    • Game 1: Aces 99, Liberty 82
    • Game 2: Aces 104, Liberty 76
    • Game 3: Liberty 87, Aces 73
    • Game 4: Aces 70, Liberty 69

The Las Vegas Aces‘ proficiency on offense is well-documented. But on Friday, with a berth in the WNBA Finals on the line, it was Las Vegas’ defense that took center stage.

The Aces held the Dallas Wings scoreless over the final five minutes of their Game 3 semifinal matchup, and hung on for a 64-61 series-clinching victory.

Las Vegas’ 3-0 sweep means it will play the winner of the other semifinal series between the Connecticut Sun and the New York Liberty.

“This was a real gut-check type of win,” Aces coach Becky Hammon told reporters after the game. “Kudos to our defense holding it down and giving us a chance to crawl back into that game. Not the prettiest of games. We’re happy to be walking out of here with a win.

“At the end of the day, you have to take a look at our entertainment value, too. People don’t want to see a game in the 60s. It should be the finest display of basketball that the WNBA has right now. It was very ugly basketball.”

The Aces’ 11-0 run to end the game put a bow on a series in which Las Vegas outplayed Dallas. The Aces won the first game of the series, 97-83, and the second, 91-84. But in the clincher, when Las Vegas’ vaunted offense struggled, the team’s defense met the moment.

A’Ja Wilson, for instance, who had scored at least 30 points in her past three games, scored just 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting. But she shone on the other side of the ball: she recorded 13 rebounds and held Wings players to 1-for-10 shooting during plays in which she was the primary defender.

“Especially when it’s not going as well for me on the offensive end, I try to see what I can do to get my team and me going,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t have to be an offensive rhythm, but a defensive rhythm. It’s like, ‘If I’m not scoring, I can’t let you score.'”

Satou Sabally is the WNBA’s Most Improved Player for 2023.

Sabally was announced as the recipient of the award Thursday after averaging 18.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. The former second round pick was named to the All-Rookie team in 2020 and was an All-Star in 2021. Yet since her rookie season, she had struggled with injuries, playing just 44 games total across her first three seasons, including just 11 in 2022.

This year, though, she has started in all 38 games for Dallas. And she also has set career bests almost across the board.

Her previous career high in points stood at 13.9 per game in her rookie season. That year also provided her previous high for rebounds, with 7.8 per game. And before this season, she hadn’t averaged over 2.8 assists per game.

She also made the WNBA All-Star Game, and she made history in July when she became just the second player in Dallas Wings’ history to record a triple-double.

“I just wanted to showcase who I am,” Saballly told Sports Illustrated recently, “because I feel like a lot of times over these three past years I wasn’t on the court enough that people could really understand who I really am, so I just wanted to present myself to the world in the right way.”

Having been with Dallas since 2020, Sabally also has stepped into more of a leadership role on a young Wings team.

“I do feel like I have to show up every single night, and I think that is expected and I have accepted that role,” she said. “Even, you know, just stepping into a leadership role, accepting that I can’t be silent, even if I may have a game where I want to be a little bit more introverted and keep that energy to myself, you just can’t do that as a leader, and I think that is something that I’ve been trying to accept.”

As the 2023 WNBA playoffs begin, teams are still dealing with a number of injuries. Take the Washington Mystics, who will be without Shakira Austin for the first two games of their first-round series against the New York Liberty.

Just Women’s Sports is keeping tabs on the most notable WNBA injuries and, where possible, providing the timetable for the player’s return. This report also includes athletes who are missing the 2023 WNBA season due to pregnancy or maternity leave.


Injured WNBA players who could return this season

Shakira Austin, Washington Mystics

Second-year center Shakira Austin went down on June 25 with a hip strain. An MRI revealed that the injury doesn’t require surgery, but she missed nearly two months as a result.

Austin returned in mid-August in a win over Chicago but has remained limited in her minutes. Weeks later against the Aces, she re-injured the hip that had kept her out nearly two months. She will miss at least the first two games of the Mystics’ first-round series against the New York Liberty.

Candace Parker, Las Vegas Aces

The two-time WNBA MVP will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a left foot fracture, the Las Vegas Aces announced in July.

Parker has been playing on the fracture all season, according to the team, but a recent consultation with doctors revealed that surgery was the best option to return to health and to avoid further injury.

After signing with Las Vegas in the offseason, Parker started the first 18 games of the season for the Aces, averaging 9.0 points per game.


WNBA players who have returned to the court

Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics

The two-time WNBA MVP injured her left ankle on July 9, but she returned on Aug. 18. The 33-year-old started this season fully healthy for the first time in almost three years after dealing with back issues that kept her sidelined for a significant amount of time.

NaLyssa Smith, Indiana Fever

A stress fracture in her left foot was expected to keep the 22-year-old forward out for at least two weeks, the Fever announced on July 11.

Smith made her returned on Aug. 8 and has been instrumental for Indiana since then, including a career-high 30 points in the team’s overtime win over Dallas on Sunday.

Layshia Clarendon, Los Angeles Sparks

Clarendon returned on July 22, appearing for the first time since June 9. A partial tear of the right plantar fascia ligament in their foot had kept Clarendon off the floor.

Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury

Brittney Griner had been out since June 13 with a hip injury but made her return against the Storm on June 24, putting up 11 points and 6 rebounds through 20 minutes.

Ruthy Hebard, Chicago Sky

Hebard gave birth to her son, Xzavier Reid, in April. The Chicago Sky forward returned just 12 weeks later.

“All this has just shown me how much I love the game,” Hebard said one week before making her return on July 9. “I love being around my teammates. I just love everything about basketball. More than anything, I just want to be back.”

Aari McDonald, Atlanta Dream

The 24-year-old guard tore her labrum against the Las Vegas Aces on June 2, the Dream announced on June 6. She returned to action on July 20.

Diamond Miller, Minnesota Lynx

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft sprained her right ankle during Minnesota’s loss to the Dallas Wings on May 30. In a statement, the Lynx said Miller will “be reevaluated in the following weeks and further updates will be issued when available.” Miller scored a career-high 18 points in her return on June 27.

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury also went without Diana Taurasi (hamstring) through three games (all double-digit losses). Taurasi returned on June 24, playing 19 minutes and putting up 13 points and 4 rebounds against Seattle.


Injured WNBA players out for the season

Brionna Jones, Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun announced on June 24 that Brionna Jones suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in a game against the Seattle Storm on June 20 and underwent a successful surgery on June 23.

“While this is not how I envisioned this season ending for me, I am determined and ready to head into the next stage of recovery and rehab. I know I have an amazing support system behind me, and I will return on the other side of this stronger than ever,” Jones said in a statement.

Prior to the injury, Jones was first in the league in offensive rebounds (3.2/game), fifth in steals (1.8), and ninth in field goal percentage (57.1).

“We are heartbroken for Breezy. Anyone who knows her, knows she’s an amazing person, teammate and leader for our group,” said Connecticut Sun head coach Stephanie White.

“On the court, she has worked so hard to position herself as a cornerstone of our franchise and was playing terrific basketball. … As a team, we know we have a job to do, and we will dedicate our work toward the ultimate goal of winning a championship in a way that honors Breezy.”

Diamond DeShields, Dallas Wings

DeShields missed the regular season with a knee injury, and she remain out for the postseason.

While the 28-year-old guard appeared in a May 5 preseason game against Chicago, she did not travel for the team’s second preseason game out of precaution due to knee soreness. It’s unclear when she could make a return this season.

Rebekah Gardner, Chicago Sky

Gardner will miss the playoffs for Chicago. She missed most of the season after undergoing foot surgery for the break she sustained during a loss to the Washington Mystics on May 26.

Isabelle Harrison, Chicago Sky

The 29-year-old forward missed the season with a knee injury. The Sky revealed in May that Harrison would be out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. Harrison, who signed as a free agent with Chicago in February, has played six seasons in the WNBA.

Li Yueru, Chicago Sky

Li will miss the season with a non-WNBA injury, the Sky announced on May 18. She played for Chicago last season but missed the postseason to prepare for the 2022 World Cup with the Chinese national team.

Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Dallas Wings

The former UConn star underwent knee surgery during the first week of the season and missed the season as a result. The 25-year-old wing was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

Stephanie Talbot, Los Angeles Sparks

The 28-year-old forward signed with the Sparks in the offseason but tore her Achilles while playing for the Adelaide Lightning in Australia in February.

Kristi Toliver, Washington Mystics

The 36-year-old guard suffered a torn ACL in early September, which will sideline for the 2023 playoffs.

“I’m not going to lie: Emotionally, I’m shocked,” the Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne said. “You try to do the whole thing where you want to rally for [Toliver], but we were sick. Just sick. What she’s been through with her foot, how much she’s worked to get back — and she’s feeling good. She’s talking about even next year and all those things. To see something like that happen at this point in her career, it just sucks. … She’s such a great person. So it’s brutal.”


WNBA players out due to pregnancy or childbirth

Natalie Achonwa, Minnesota Lynx

Achonwa gave birth to her first child, son Maverick, in April and missed the WNBA season on maternity leave.

Achonwa, a member of the WNBA players’ union executive committee, helped negotiate for many of the pregnancy protections and maternity benefits that were included in the league’s 2020 collective bargaining agreement.

“Previously if you were out on maternity leave you’d get fifty per cent of your base salary,” Achonwa told SportsNet.

“I will receive my full salary this year whether I’m able to make it back or not — so pending clearance from doctors and trainers and stuff like that to see if I will make it back by the end of the year — but knowing that my family will be taken care of financially while I’m out on maternity leave was huge.”

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury

Diggins-Smith is out on maternity leave after giving birth to her second child during the WNBA offseason and her return timeline is unclear.

“I’m not really worried about snapping back,” she recently told Essence. “I just want to enjoy this time with my daughter.”

Katie Lou Samuelson, Los Angeles Sparks

Samuelson welcomed a baby girl in August, and her pregnancy kept out of the 2023 season. The 25-year-old forward averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29.5 minutes per game in 2022.

“Life is full of surprises and 2023 surprised us in the best way possible!” she wrote in a social media announcement of her pregnancy. “We can’t wait to welcome the newest member of our family!”

Emma Hruby and Alex Azzi contributed to this report. 

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.

Which teams have clinched WNBA playoff spots?

1. Las Vegas Aces

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.

2. New York Liberty

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.

3. Connecticut Sun

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.

4. Dallas Wings

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.

5. Minnesota Lynx

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.”

6. Washington Mystics

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.”

7. Atlanta Dream

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.

8. Chicago Sky

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.

Which teams have been eliminated from playoff contention?

  • Indiana Fever
  • Los Angeles Sparks
  • Phoenix Mercury
  • Seattle Storm

With less than a week left in the WNBA regular season, seven teams have clinched playoff spots, three have been eliminated, and two squads are competing for the eighth and final spot.

Here’s how the playoff picture looks as the regular season heads to the finish line.

Clinched

Las Vegas Aces

The Aces set a WNBA record with 30 wins this season and currently have the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. The Aces are guaranteed to finish with the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, but with four of their six losses coming in August, Las Vegas has been in jeopardy of losing the top spot to New York.

In the first 40-game season in WNBA history, the Aces are beginning to show cracks in their depth. Head coach Becky Hammon pulled her starters with 3:04 remaining in a loss to Washington on Aug. 26, admitting afterward that the Aces “weren’t winning that game” because of fatigue. The team has responded in the past week, winning two in a row to remain one game ahead of New York in the standings. If the Aces win their last two games, they’ll clinch the No. 1 seed; if the Aces and the Liberty end the season in a tie, the Aces need Minnesota (19-19) to finish at .500 or above to win the tiebreaker.

New York Liberty

The Liberty also have a playoff spot locked up and are currently on a seven-game win streak in an effort to overtake Las Vegas for the No. 1 seed.

In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker goes to the team with the better record against teams that finished the year at .500 or above. As mentioned above, Minnesota is the key to this equation: The Aces are 3-0 over the Lynx this season, and would win the tiebreaker if the Lynx — with games against Chicago and Indian remaining — finish at .500 or above. Unlike the Aces, the Liberty’s depth is one of their biggest strengths.

Connecticut Sun

Though often overlooked, the Sun have been a surprising contender this season — due in large part to triple-double queen Alyssa Thomas — and have the No. 3 seed secured. With two regular season games remaining, they have no more room to move up or down at this point and will look toward the playoffs.

Dallas Wings

The Wings punched their playoff ticket with a win over Indiana on Friday. They could have locked up the No. 4 seed with a win in either of their last two games, but they’ve since suffered a loss to Indiana in overtime and a one-point loss to New York on Tuesday. Dallas, currently one game ahead of Minnesota, has two more games to secure the four seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.

Minnesota Lynx

The Lynx have enjoyed quite the turnaround after an 0-6 start to the season. They’ve pushed their way into the middle of the pack thanks to a career-best scoring season from Napheesa Collier and the development of the team’s rookies, notably No. 2 draft pick Diamond Miller and second-round pick Dorka Juhász. With two straight wins to start September, the Lynx clinched a playoff berth and are currently holding onto the No. 5 seed. The 2023 Lynx are just the second team in WNBA history to lose at least their first six games and still make the postseason.

Washington Mystics

The Mystics have struggled with consistency this season, largely due to injuries. They’ve won more than two games in a row just once, but with the return of Elena Delle Donne, they clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win over Phoenix on Tuesday. They had just eight players available in that game and continue to manage injuries, including veteran Kristi Toliver’s torn ACL, but they’ll make their sixth postseason appearance in seven seasons as the current No. 7 seed.

Atlanta Dream

After the Dream went on a seven-game winning streak in July, August wasn’t so kind to Tanisha Wright’s squad. They went 3-8 and fell down the standings as a result. Their early-season success helped secure them a playoff spot regardless, with a win over Seattle on Wednesday night pushing them over the line. Atlanta currently owns the No. 6 seed, with the tiebreaker advantage over Washington. The Dream’s postseason appearance will be their first in five years.

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Diana Taurasi and Phoenix will miss the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Out

Seattle Storm

In the Storm’s first season without Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd had an incredible individual campaign, leading the WNBA in scoring. But as a team, the Storm struggled mightily and were officially ruled out of playoff contention for the first time in seven consecutive seasons.

Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury were also eliminated last month, marking the first time since 2012 that the franchise won’t make a postseason appearance. Despite Diana Taurasi’s historic season and Brittney Griner’s triumphant return, this result was not wholly unexpected. The Mercury are still attempting to right the ship after firing head coach Vanessa Nygaard earlier in the season and competing without Skylar Diggins-Smith, who is on maternity leave.

Indiana Fever

Indiana held an outside shot of making the playoffs into September, before losing to Dallas on Sept. 1 and being officially eliminated. The Fever will enter the offseason with plenty of bright spots to build on, most notably Rookie of the Year frontrunner Aliyah Boston.

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The 2021 WNBA champion Chicago Sky are in the hunt for one of the final playoff spots. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Still fighting

Los Angeles Sparks

After enjoying a six-game win streak in August, the Sparks have gone 1-4 in their last five games to put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. L.A. has struggled with injuries, including a non-COVID-related illness that has sidelined Lexie Brown for the majority of the season. They have a shot at sneaking into the postseason in head coach Curt Miller’s first season at the helm, but their window is closing. Chicago holds the tiebreaker for playoff positioning, with a 3-1 season series advantage over L.A.

Chicago Sky

The Sky have won four of their last six games to make a late push for the final playoff spot. With the tiebreaker over the Sparks in hand, Chicago has a legitimate chance at a fifth straight postseason appearance despite losing almost their entire starting core in the offseason and head coach James Wade midseason.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

New York, Las Vegas and Connecticut have all secured a playoff spot as the 2023 WNBA postseason approaches.

With five playoff spots remaining and less than a month until the regular season ends, some teams have a legitimate shot at hoisting the trophy, while others should begin focusing on the 2024 draft.

Contenders

Las Vegas Aces

The defending champions have the highest win percentage (.879) in the league and have remained relatively consistent throughout the season. They’ve had their share of challenges, with a season-ending injury to Candace Parker making the biggest impact. Fatigue could also hurt the Aces in the long run, as they only have Alysha Clark playing consistent minutes off the bench. A short rotation was a weakness for Las Vegas last season as well, and it didn’t end up mattering in their run to the WNBA championship.

The Aces are a true title contender because of their starting five, led by reigning WNBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year A’ja Wilson. She’s taken on an even bigger role since Parker went out, recording a career-high 53 points (which also tied the WNBA record) in a win over Atlanta on Tuesday. Wilson is Las Vegas’ anchor, but she’s surrounded by talented guards in Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum.

The Aces have both an explosive offense and a solid defense, leading them to win their games by an average of 13.6 points.

New York Liberty

Between New York and Las Vegas, it’s difficult to determine the true favorite to win the title. With the Commissioner’s Cup championship game factored in, the Liberty and Aces have split their season series with two wins apiece. They play one more time in the regular season, matching up on Aug. 28 in New York.

Like the Aces, the Liberty have a lethal starting five. Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Vandersloot and Betnijah Laney are the reason the Liberty were dubbed a superteam heading into the season. That group alone makes the Liberty a contender, with different players capable of going off on any given night. But where New York stands out from the rest of the league is in its bench play.

Headlining the talented secondary unit is Marine Johannès, whose 17 points in 14 minutes of play propelled New York to the Commissioner’s Cup title. Kayla Thornton provides a lift off the bench, often on the defensive end, and Stefanie Dolson and Nyara Sabally are also viable depth options. In a playoff series, the Liberty’ deep and talented bench gives them a major advantage over their opponents.

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Arike Ogunbowale has the talent to lead Dallas on a deep playoff run. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dallas Wings

Las Vegas and New York are the top contenders to win the WNBA championship, but there is a world in which Dallas could pull off an upset. The Wings are capable of getting hot and erupting on offense, currently third in the WNBA with 86.9 points per game.

Dallas is led by Satou Sabally and Arike Ogunbowale, who are exactly the type of players that can help a team make a playoff run. Sabally is a walking mismatch who can get up and down the court and score from inside, outside and the midrange. Ogunbowale is fifth in the league in scoring at 21 points per game, and she is known for her ability to hit high-pressure, contested shots. Her assist numbers (4.6 per game) are also at an all-time high as her offense continues to evolve.

Outside of Sabally and Ogunbowale, Dallas has a scary frontcourt, with veteran Natasha Howard and 6-foot-7 Teaira McCowan starting, and 6-7 Kalani Brown coming off the bench. There are few teams in the league that can compete with the size and strength of the Wings inside.

Connecticut Sun

The Sun are the third-best team in the league based on record, but they’ll have to play nearly perfect basketball to win a championship, especially without an injured Brionna Jones. They do have the personnel to pull it off, as one of two teams in the league that have topped both Las Vegas and New York this season (Dallas is the second).

Connecticut is led by the WNBA’s triple-double machine, Alyssa Thomas, who is averaging 15.7 points, 10 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, and DeWanna Bonner, who at 36 is having the best season of her career with 17.8 points per game. And without Jones, Tiffany Hayes has developed into a solid third scoring option.

DiJonai Carrington brings a spark off the bench, and Rebecca Allen has the ability to go on a scoring streak, but the Sun’s real strength is on the defensive end. They give up just 78.7 points per game and snag 8.2 steals per game, both of which lead the WNBA. If Connecticut puts together a top-tier defensive showing throughout the playoffs, and shooters like Bonner and Allen get hot — and stay hot — they have a chance.

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Natasha Cloud is one of few Mystics players to log 30 games this season. (David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Pretenders

Washington Mystics

Even if everyone is healthy when the playoffs start, the Mystics haven’t had enough time on the court together to gel as a unit. On paper, the Mystics look like contenders, with Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins, Shakira Austin and Brittney Sykes, who is having a breakout season. But with nearly every player having missed significant time this season, time is running out. Right now, the question isn’t if the Mystics can contend, but if they can make the playoffs at all. The top eight teams in the league earn postseason bids, and Washington is currently seventh.

Chicago Sky

The Sky were always going to need time to adjust to losing a core group that included Parker and Vandersloot, but the departure of head coach and GM James Wade in the middle of the season put them in an even more challenging position. Currently in ninth place at 13-20, the Sky need to go on a run to end the regular season if they want to make a postseason appearance.

Indiana Fever

In last place, the Fever are nearly out of playoff contention with a 9-24 record. They made strides this year, and No. 1 draft pick Aliyah Boston is a franchise cornerstone going forward, but Indiana never learned how to win despite being in close contests all season. It’s time for the Fever to turn their attention to the 2024 draft.

Seattle Storm

In 10th place, the Storm are almost out of the playoff picture as well, which was expected after losing Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird in the offseason. Now, Seattle needs to use the offseason to convince Jewell Loyd — who leads the league in scoring at 24.1 points per game — to re-sign with the organization in free agency. Without her, the rebuild becomes even more daunting.

Phoenix Mercury

There have been some bright spots for Phoenix this year, most notably the return of Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi surpassing 10,000 career points, but making a postseason run has never seemed in the cards with how the season has gone. After parting ways with head coach Vanessa Nygaard early in the season, the Mercury have a lot of rebuilding to do, including their relationship with veteran guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks are close to figuring it all out, even with the injuries they’ve endured all season. They’re in the midst of a five-game winning streak that included a win over the Aces. Curt Miller is moving the team in the right direction, building around Nneka Ogwumike and facilitating breakout seasons from players like Jordin Canada and Karlie Samuelson as the team pushes for a spot in the playoffs. This isn’t the Sparks’ year, but they are making positive strides for the future.

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Napheesa Collier is having a career-best season after returning from pregnancy. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Somewhere in between

Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream

While not true contenders, the Lynx and the Dream don’t fall into the pretenders category, either. Both teams are capable of winning a series and making things interesting in the next round.

The Lynx are hitting their stride, despite a complicated situation with Aerial Powers. Napheesa Collier is having the best season of her career, averaging 21.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Rookies Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász are settling into their roles, and veterans like Kayla McBride have served as a steadying force. The Lynx are much improved since their 0-6 start to the season, and even better than they were last month. Take Tuesday’s win over Dallas: A month ago, the Lynx lost by 40 points to the Wings; on Tuesday, they showed poise in a testy contest to pull off the win.

Meanwhile, Atlanta has talented players who can compete on any given night. All-Stars Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker will always give the Dream a chance in games. Whether they can turn that potential into playoff series wins depends on their consistency.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

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