WNBA Final Power Rankings: No. 1 Mystics head into playoffs looking like team to beat; Sun also earn bye to semifinals
The 2019 WNBA Playoffs begin on Wednesday night with the single-elimination first round
The 2019 WNBA regular season is in the books. All 12 teams were in action to close out the season on Sunday, and with those results, the standings and first-round playoff matchups, are set as the playoffs tip off Wednesday night.
Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics are the No. 1 seed, which gets them a bye straight to the semifinals and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Joining them in the semis are the Sun, who finally secure a top-two seed and won't have to face a single-elimination game this season.
The Sparks locked up the No. 3 seed and will get a first-round bye, while the Aces held on to the No. 4 seed to do the same. They'll face the winners of Wednesday night's first-round action, with the lowest remaining seed playing the Sparks.
In the first round, the No. 5 seed Sky will host the No. 8 seed Mercury, while the No. 6 seed Storm will host the No. 7 seed Lynx. Both of those games are single-elimination, and the winners will advance to the second round.
Heading into the playoffs, which begin on Wednesday with the two first-round matchups, here's a look at the final power rankings of the season, based on each team's ability to win it all.
1. Washington Mystics (26-8) -- No. 1 seed
The Mystics established themselves as the best team in the league with a completely dominant second half. They lost just twice since the middle of July, finishing on a 17-2 run to secure the best record in the league and home court throughout the playoffs. They have the likely MVP in Elena Delle Donne, a historic offense and plenty of depth and experience. They're the team to beat.
2. Los Angeles Sparks (22-12) -- No. 3 seed
Los Angeles was a bit of a mess to start the season as it dealt with injuries, overseas absences and suspensions while trying to work through the usual hiccups that come with a new coach and players. But they're healthy now and seem to have figured things out. Since their 6-6 start, they have the second-best net rating in the league, and boast as much talent and championship experience as any team in the league.
3. Connecticut Sun (23-11) -- No. 2 seed
Sun fans, rejoice. You don't have to watch your team in a single-elimination game this season. The Sun are heading to the semis after snagging the No. 2 seed, which will give them a big boost in their quest for their first title. They've been one of the most consistent teams all season long, and are one of two teams to score multiple wins over the Mystics. Still, they'll have to prove they can win in the playoffs.
4. Las Vegas Aces (21-13) -- No. 4 seed
The Aces stumbled toward the finish line in the regular season, losing four of their last six games, which does not inspire confidence in their playoff hopes. They have an elite defense and one of the best players in the league in Liz Cambage, but also rely on many young players without playoff experience, and have struggled to put everything together at times. Anything from winning the title to losing in the second round seems possible for this team.
5. Chicago Sky (20-14) -- No. 5 seed
There was a stretch toward the end of the season where the Sky were looking quite dangerous, but they also faltered down the stretch. They have an incredible offense, and it will be interesting to see if they can still play at their preferred torrid pace in the postseason. If their offense is really clicking, they have the talent to make a little run, but it's hard to see them winning it all when their defense struggles as much as it does.
6. Phoenix Mercury (15-19) -- No. 8 seed
Even considering Diana Taurasi's injury, the Mercury were one of the most disappointing teams this season. Expected to be a title contender coming into the season, they just snuck into the playoffs as the eighth and final seed, and will now have to navigate two single-elimination rounds. Are they a serious threat? Probably not, especially with how Taurasi has looked since her return, but if any team can flip a switch it's the Mercury.
7. Minnesota Lynx (18-16) -- No. 7 seed
Expectations were not high for the Lynx after all the changes in the offseason, that included Maya Moore sitting out and Lindsay Whalen retiring. But this was one of Cheryl Reeve's finest efforts, as she rebuilt the roster with some savvy moves and guided the Lynx to yet another winning season. Their defense is elite but it's going to be difficult for them to go on a deep run with such an inconsistent offense.
8. Seattle Storm (18-16) -- No. 6 seed
Making the playoffs with Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird sidelined for the entire season was a phenomenal accomplishment by this Storm team. They battled all season and were stingy on the defensive end. In the playoffs, that defense will make them a difficult out, but they just don't have the top tier talent or enough consistent scoring to go on any long run.
The semifinal series will get underway on Tuesday evening
The Mystics and Aces will get their semifinal series underway on Tuesday night in D.C.
The WNBA postseason continues on Tuesday with two Game 1s in the semifinal round
The postseason action continues on Tuesday with Game 1 of each semifinal series
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