WNBA playoffs 2022: Bracket, full schedule, start times, and predictions

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The field for the 2022 WNBA Playoffs is set, and this promises to be one of the most competitive title chases the league has ever seen. The defending champion Chicago Sky enter the postseason with the No. 2 seed in the bracket, and will try to become the W’s first back-to-back champion since Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks took home consecutive titles in 2001 and 2002. The Sky have a roster stacked with All-Star talent and championship experience, but it won’t be easy with so many great teams vying for their own shot at glory.

The Las Vegas Aces earned the the No. 1 seed in the playoff picture by beating the Sky and Seattle Storm in their last two games of the regular season. The Aces are led by one of the MVP front-runners in A’ja Wilson, and have also enjoyed a breakout season for dynamic scoring guard Kelsey Plum. The Aces face the Phoenix Mercury in round one.

The best first round series is the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup between the Storm and Washington Mystics. Breanna Stewart is Wilson’s main competition for MVP, and has turned in another amazing season after missing last year’s playoffs with an injury. The Mystics finally have superstar big Elena Delle Donne back in the lineup, and are trying to recapture the magic from their 2019 championship run.

There have been some changes to format for the WNBA Playoffs in 2022, which we will explain below. Here’s the bracket, TV schedule, and format for the WNBA Playoffs this season.

WNBA Playoffs 2022 Bracket

2022 WNBA Playoffs format

  • The WNBA has eliminated single-elimination playoff games and playoff byes this season. There is no re-seeding in the playoffs. The playoffs also do not factor in conferences.
  • The first round will be a ‘best-of-three’ series with the higher seed getting the first two games. The lower seed would host a decisive Game 3.
  • The semifinals and Finals will be decided by ‘best-of-five’ series with a 2-2-1 format.

WNBA Playoffs schedule 2022

No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 8 Phoenix Mercury: Games, Dates, Times, and TV

Game 1: Phoenix at Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 17 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Game 2: Phoenix at Las Vegas, Saturday, Aug. 20 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Game 3 (if necessary): Las Vegas at Phoenix, Tuesday, Aug. 23 (TBD)

No. 2 Chicago Sky vs. No. 7 New York Liberty: Schedule, Dates, Times, and TV

Game 1: New York at Chicago, Wednesday, Aug. 17 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Game 2: New York at Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 20 (Noon ET, ESPN)

Game 3 (if necessary): Chicago at New York, Tuesday, Aug. 23 (TBD)

No. 3 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 6 Dallas Wings: Games, Dates, Times, and TV

Game 1: Dallas at Connecticut, Thursday, Aug. 18 (8 p.m. ET, ESPNU/NBA TV)

Game 2: Dallas at Connecticut, Sunday, Aug. 21 (noon ET, ABC)

Game 3 (if necessary): Connecticut at Dallas, Wednesday, Aug. 24 (TBD)

No. 4 Seattle Storm vs. No. 5 Washington Mystics: Schedule and TV Times

Game 1: Washington at Seattle, Thursday, Aug. 18 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Game 2: Washington at Seattle, Sunday, Aug. 21 (4 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Game 3 (if necessary): Seattle at Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 24 (TBD)

WNBA Playoffs 2022 predictions

The WNBA Playoffs feel wide open this year. The Aces enter the postseason as the favorites, but each of the top-five seeds have a realistic chance to win it all.

Las Vegas has been led by the league’s best offense all year. The gap between the Aces’ No. 1 offense and the league’s No. 2 offense (3.8 points per 100 possessions) is wider than the gap between the league’s No. 2 and No. 6 offenses. Vegas’ defense has been a little more shaky, ranking sixth out of the league’s 12 teams. When the game slows down in the playoffs, can Las Vegas’ emphasis on offensive pace continue to pay off?

The Sky and Sun feel like the league’s two most balanced teams. The Sun led the league in net-rating at +9.5 (the Aces were No. 2 at +7.7). Connecticut was the title favorite last year before getting upset in the semifinals by Chicago. The Sky were only .500 in the regular season last year before their incredible postseason run. This year, the Sky were an elite team all season, holding onto the No. 1 seed until their second to last game. The Sky have a ton of veterans — Candace Parker and Allie Quigley are 36 years old, Courtney Vandersloot is 33 years old — but it’s fair to wonder if they pushed too hard during the regular season this year. Something to watch for with Chicago is Parker’s three-point shooting: she ended the regular season 3-for-20 from deep. The Sky need Parker to be hitting threes on her pick-and-pop attempts if they’re going to win it all.

The Liberty feel like the biggest threat to pull a first round upset. Former No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu has been sensational in her third season, and forwards Natasha Howard and Betnijah Laney have made New York tough on the inside. Can New York really upset the defending champs in round one? I doubt it, but it won’t be an easy series for Chicago.

The winner of the Storm-Mystics series will also have a shot at the title. Stewart is my MVP pick as I detailed in this post, and Jewel Lloyd is one of the league’s toughest guards. Delle Donne still has a case as a top-three player when fully healthy, and Washington has been extremely formidable with her on the court this year. The Storm’s midseason addition of Tina Charles adds even more offensive firepower to the mix.

First round predictions:

  • Aces over Mercury in two.
  • Storm over Mystics in three.
  • Sky over Liberty in three.
  • Sun over Wings in two.

Semifinals predictions:

  • Aces over Storm in four.
  • Sky over Sun in five.

WNBA Finals prediction:

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