Among the key changes will be the elimination of single elimination contests and the elimination of playoff breaks.
Instead, the eight teams with the highest winning percentage during the league’s 36-game regular season will be seeded, with the top seed playing No. 8 in a best-of-three series in the first round. The No. 2 seed will play the No. 7 seed, the No. 6 seed will play the No. 3 seed, and the No. 5 seed will play the No. 4 seed, all in a best-of-three series.
In the first round, the highest seed will host the first two games, and the lowest seed will host Game 3, if necessary.
The winners of each series will move to play each other in a 2-2 best-of-five semi-final series, and those winners will play in the WNBA Best-of-Five Finals.
“We have been evaluating different playoff formats for the last 12 months, and the new playoff format that is announced today will allow fans to interact with all the best teams and the best stars in the league since the beginning of the postseason with the eight championship contenders immediately. take part in exciting first-round action, ”WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.
“After significant discussions with our Competition Committee and a Playoffs subcommittee that we formed last year, it was clear that while the single elimination games of the previous format created a level of excitement about winning and advancing early in the postseason, the new best The series of three format will provide additional opportunities to create and display rivalries with the participation of all teams eligible for the playoffs. “
The league enacted its previous system in 2016, with two single-elimination games in the first round and two single-elimination games in the second round. Then those winners faced seeds 1 and 2 in a best-of-five semifinal round, followed by a best-of-five final.
Throughout last year’s postseason, the league’s playoff format received public pushback from various players and coaches.
“While this [system] profit 1-2, you’ve seen some teams that have outstanding seasons, including us in 2017 and 2018, being three or four seeded, working their tails for four or five months, and in a [disappointing game], you’re out, “Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller said.
“We are a professional league, and we think we deserve the series. Hopefully we’ll get there sooner rather than later. And just get rid of the byes.”
Storm coach Noelle Quinn added: “The first round single elimination game maybe brings some excitement, but the third and fourth seeds … I mean, look at Minnesota and what they did at the end of the year. Look at how Phoenix started playing at the end, it just gives teams a chance to compete in the playoffs with a series and creates these rivalries. “
Prior to 2016, the top four teams from each conference advanced to the playoffs, with the first round and conference semifinals being the best-of-three series. The WNBA Finals began its current best-of-five format in 2005.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.