The WNBA Playoffs is an elimination tournament between 8 teams in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), ultimately deciding the final two teams who will play in the WNBA Finals.
Following the WNBA regular season, eight teams in the entire league qualify for the playoffs and are seeded one to eight.
Regular season records determine the seedings of the teams. The team with the best record receives seed one, the team with the next best record receives seed two, and so on. The top two seeds get double byes, while the next two seeds get first-round byes.
These seedings are used to create a bracket that determines the match-ups throughout the playoffs. The first round of the playoffs consists of two match-ups based on the seedings (5-8 and 6-7). The two winners advance to the second round with a match-up between the number 3 seed and the lower of the advancing seeds and another match-up between the number 4 seed and the other first round winner. The winners of the first two rounds advance to the semifinals, where the lower ranked seed of the winners faces the number 1 seed, while the other remaining team faces the number 2 seed.
The first two rounds are single elimination games played on the higher ranking seed’s home court. The semifinals and WNBA Finals are best-of-five series played in a 2-2-1 format, meaning the team with home-court advantage (better record) hosts games 1, 2, and 5 while their opponent hosts games 3 and 4.