The Minnesota Lynx had to wait until the regular-season finale to determine what seed they would hold for the postseason. Still, a win over the Washington Mystics last Sunday secured their positioning for the WNBA Playoffs. Now, the Lynx await their opponent when postseason play begins on Thursday.
With the road win over Washington last Sunday, Minnesota clinched the No. 3 seed for the playoffs, meaning it would receive a one-round bye to skip past the first round on Thursday and advance to the single-elimination second round on Sunday. The Lynx win in the final game of the regular season brought their record of 22-10 overall and pushed them ahead of fourth-seeded Seattle Storm.
“We got off to the worst start that I can remember since 2010. … It took us a while to get there,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said about the regular season. “It happened organically with great belief in themselves, great belief in each other and how hard we played. … We finally got to that place where trust was there. It was real, and we’ve kept it, and that’s why we’ve been able to get through this.”
Now with Minnesota getting the week off to prepare for what it hopes ends up being a deep playoff run, it awaits whichever team will come into Target Center on Sunday for the second round and a trip to the best-of-five semifinal round on the line.
As the Lynx prepare for who they might face off against to begin their postseason journey, let’s break down all of the possibilities of who they might play, how they performed against those teams during the season, and what might lie ahead for Minnesota if it advances out of the second round.
Who Could Minnesota Face in Second Round?
Minnesota knows it will begin the playoffs in Minneapolis on Sunday, but its opponent for the win-or-go-home game will be determined on Thursday in the first round of the postseason. The Lynx have won nine of their last 10 games and are 13-3 at home. They could host one of three teams taking part in the two-game opening round.
As the No. 3 seed, Minnesota will take on the lowest remaining seed coming out of the first round, which features the No. 8 New York Liberty vs. No. 5 Phoenix Mercury and No. 7 Dallas Wings vs. No. 6 Chicago Sky. The highest remaining seed would travel to No. 4 Seattle in the second round.
That means the Lynx will open up play by hosting either New York, Dallas, or Chicago. If the Liberty win in the opening round, they travel to Minnesota. If Phoenix beats New York, Dallas or Chicago will enter Target Center to face the Lynx for a chance to go to the semifinals.
The Lynx finished 2-1 against New York and Dallas during the regular season and split a two-game series with Chicago.
What Would Come Next?
Suppose Minnesota takes care of business in the single-elimination second round to advance to the semifinals for a second consecutive season. In that case, there is only one team it could face, the second-seeded Las Vegas Aces.
Since the third-seeded Lynx would be the highest seed to come out of the second round, they would advance to the best-of-five series against Las Vegas regardless of how the other games play out. The Aces will have home-court advantage throughout the series with a trip to the WNBA Finals on the line.
Las Vegas wrapped up the regular season with a 24-8 record, having won eight of its final 10 games while riding into the postseason winners of four straight. The Aces ended up claiming the No. 2 seed, finishing two games behind the top-seeded Connecticut Sun (26-6) atop the WNBA standings.
Las Vegas and Minnesota faced off three times during the regular season, with the Lynx taking two of those three games. Minnesota won the first game in Minneapolis on June 25 and took the second game on July 9 in Las Vegas. The Aces claimed that series’s third and final game in a blowout win on Sept. 8 in Las Vegas.
The Lynx have to worry about getting out of the second round first before they can think about their semifinal opponent, but they would have their hands full in a likely entertaining, back-and-forth series against the Aces.
WNBA Playoff Field and Schedule
- Connecticut Sun (26-6) – x
- Las Vegas Aces (24-8) – x
- Minnesota Lynx (22-10) – y
- Seattle Storm (21-11) – y
- Phoenix Mercury (19-13)
- Chicago Sky (16-16)
- Dallas Wings (14-18)
- New York Liberty (12-20)
x = two-round bye
y = one-round bye
- First Round (single-elimination):
- Thursday, Sept. 23 — No. 7 Dallas Wings at No. 6 Chicago Sky, 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2; No. 8 New York Liberty at No. 5 Phoenix Mercury, 9 p.m. CT on ESPN2
- Second Round (single-elimination):
- Sunday, Sept. 26 — No. 3 Minnesota Lynx vs. TBD; No. 4 Seattle Storm vs. TBD
- Semifinals (best-of-five):
- Game 1: Tuesday, Sept. 28
- Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 30
- Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 3
- Game 4 (if necessary): Wednesday, Oct. 6
- Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, Oct. 8
- WNBA Finals (best-of-five):
- Game 1: Sunday, Oct. 10
- Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 13
- Game 3: Friday, Oct. 15
- Game 4 (if necessary): Sunday, Oct. 17
- Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, Oct. 19