VIEW SOME TWOSOME - Sports Illustrated Vault |
Publish date:


The WNBA playoff format gave fans a thrilling Finals

ONE OF THE smartest decisions in the 21-year history of the WNBA came in January 2016 when the league changed its playoff format to allow the eight teams with the highest winning percentages—regardless of conference—to qualify for the playoffs and be seeded based on their records. The change allowed the Minnesota Lynx and the L.A. Sparks, the league's two best teams this season, a clear path to meet in the Finals despite both residing in the Western Conference. The two teams produced spellbinding basketball in the 2016 Final (L.A. won three games to two) and it has been the same story in this year's, which was tied at two games after Minnesota's 80--69 victory on Sunday night.

The series has given fans another glimpse of one of the least appreciated dynasties in sports. If an NBA team had reached the Finals six times in seven years, placed four of its members on the Olympic team and had a playoff winning percentage of more than .700 since 2011, it would be celebrated from Boston to Boise. Alas, that is not the case for the Lynx of the low-profile WNBA. With four Minnesota starters over 31, catch this dominating team while you can. And if the Lynx stick together for another year, and it's L.A. and Minnesota in 2018, count us in.