With the calendar turning to September, we are fast approaching the 2021 WNBA playoffs. The Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm, Las Vegas Aces, and Phoenix Mercury were the first group to clinch playoff berths. The Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky have since joined them.
The Dallas Wings and New York Liberty currently hold the last two playoff spots, but the Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks are a half game and a full game, respectively, back of New York. It should be a wild finish to see how the seventh and eighth seeds in the WNBA playoffs shake out.
Clinched (updated Sep 13)
Connecticut Sun (21-6) - The Sun clinched a playoff berth on August 24. They currently have the best record in the WNBA and look poised to make a deep run in the playoffs led by MVP candidate Jonquel Jones. Jones has been unstoppable this season, averaging 20.3 points and a league-leading 11.0 rebounds per game.
Along with Jones, the Sun also have All-Stars DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones. Bonner is averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and career-high 3.5 assists per game. As for Jones, she is having the best season of her four-year career, averaging a career-best 14.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Connecticut has the third-best odds to win the WNBA title +300, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Las Vegas Aces (19-7) - The Aces clinched a playoff berth on August 25 and will try to go back to the WNBA Finals after losing to the Seattle Storm last season in the bubble. The Aces have the best odds to win the title +220 and are only sitting 1.5 games behind the Sun for the top spot in the WNBA standings. Las Vegas is led by the dynamic frontcourt duo of A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage. However, out of those two All-Star players, the Aces have great guards in Chelsea Gray, Kesley Plum, Jackie Young, and Dearica Hamby.
Seattle Storm (18-10) - The defending WNBA champions clinched a playoff berth on August 24. They are currently on a three-game losing streak, but are still a threat to win their second-straight title. The Storm won the Commissioner’s Cup last month over the Sun in a potential WNBA Finals preview. Seattle is led by the Olympic duo of Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart. However, Jewell Loyd has been a star in the second half of the regular season for the Storm. The Storm have the second-best odds to win the title at +260.
Phoenix Mercury (16-10) - The Mercury clinched their playoff spot on August 31 thanks to losses by the Liberty and Sparks. Phoenix have been one of the best teams in the W since the Olympic break, winning seven-straight games. The trio of Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and Brittney Griner have put the Mercury on their backs and have them a dark horse to win the WNBA title. Unlike the previous three teams, the Mercury have long-shot odds to win the championship at +2000 odds.
Minnesota Lynx (18-10) - The Lynx punched their ticket to the WNBA playoffs with their 74-66 win over the New York Liberty on August 31. Minnesota currently holds the fifth spot in the playoffs, but is only a half game behind the Phoenix Mercury for fourth, who have won an incredible 10 straight games. The Lynx have handled their business at home this season with a 11-3 record. Minnesota will be a tough out in the postseason, thanks to the frontcourt duo of Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier. Along with those two players, the Lynx have two good guards in Kayla McBridge and Crystal Dangerfield, who can get their own shots on the perimeter.
Chicago Sky (15-14) - Chicago clinched their playoff spot last weekend with an impressive 92-84 win over the Las Vegas Aces. The Sky, who was looked at as a favorite to win the title before the season began, did not get off to a great start. However, since they returned from the Olympic Break in August, Chicago has a 5-4 record. Out of the five wins, the Sky defeated the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm three times. Chicago has three games left on their schedule, but could be a sleeper to win the title.
Dallas Wings (13-17) - The Wings punched their ticket into the WNBA playoffs over the weekend with a 77-76 win against the New York Liberty. Dallas will be making their first playoff appearance since 2018 and locked up the seventh seed. The Wings will be a tough out in the playoffs as they are led by first-time all-star Arike Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale is a walking bucket, averaging 18.5 points (ranked for 6th in the WNBA), and shooting 36.9% from three-point range. Along with Ogunbowale, the Wings have Marina Mabrey, Allisha Gray, and Satou Sabally. Sabally made her return to the court Saturday after missing the previous eight games due to injury.
New York Liberty (12-20) - The Liberty have found themselves in the WNBA playoffs, despite finishing eight games under .500. New York ended the regular season on Friday night with a win over Washington Mystics. However, for them to secure the final playoff spot, New York needed Washington and the Los Angeles Sparks to both lose on Sunday.
To their surprise, both teams lost on the final day of the regular season, meaning that the Liberty will start their playoff journey on Thursday night against the Phoenix Mercury. New York is led by first-time All-Star Betnijah Laney, who proved that her season with the Atlanta Dream in 2020 wasn’t a fluke.
Laney averaged 16.8 points per game, which led the Liberty, and shot 45.1% from the field. Along with Laney, the Liberty also have the potential Rookie of Year in Michaela Onyenwere, who averaged 8.6 points per game. Then there’s former first overall pick Sabrina Ionescu and veteran forward Natasha Howard, who was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.