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WNBA Playoffs Taking Form as Season Comes to a Dramatic Finish

The final week of the WNBA regular season looks to be filled with drama as four teams battle it out for three remaining playoff berths. Defending champion Las Vegas Aces and powerhouse New York Liberty have stood out as teams to beat, however, teams like the Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, and Minnesota Lynx look to contend for a spot in the finals.

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The Aces set a new regular-season record with 32 wins and are primed to hold the number one seed. The New York Liberty have put pressure on the Aces throughout the season and pushed LV to a historic season, but it looks like they will fall just short of being number one. The Connecticut Sun are the only team locked into their seed at No. 3. The Dallas Wings and Minnesota Lynx have both clinched playoff berths and will most likely be fighting for the No. 4 and 5 seeds. The Wings hold a one-game lead over the Lynx. Minnesota joined the 2015 Los Angeles Sparks as the second team to start 0-6 and still make the playoffs. Regardless of which team comes out as No. 4, they will probably play each other in the best-of-three first round.

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After seed 5 the bids are entirely undecided. The Washington Mystics (17-20), Atlanta Dream (17-20), Los Angeles Sparks (16-21) and Chicago Sky (15-22) all remain in the thick of playoff contention with three games left each. Currently, there are two main battles going on, the first between the Atlanta Dream and Washington Mystics who are tied at 17-20 and fighting for the No. 6 seed. The Dream and the Mystics are tied for sixth and seventh, and are one game in front of the Sparks. The second battle is between the Los Angeles Sparks and Chicago Sky who have been fighting it out for the eighth seed, the final spot. The Lottery includes the Indiana Fever, Seattle Storm, and Phoenix Mercury, who have all been eliminated. The power poll has New York at number one with the momentum of a six-game winning streak. Las Vegas is a close second, with Connecticut hanging around in third. Dallas, Minnesota, and Los Angeles are next, followed by Washington, Atlanta, and Chicago, with Indiana, Seattle, and Phoenix remaining.

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While most of the champion buzz surrounds the Liberty and Aces, the Sun are continuously overlooked. No one expected the Sun to survive this long without star forward Jonquel Jones. Overcoming expectations, the Sun have won 25 games so far in the regular season and continue their longest active playoff streak after clinching their seventh straight playoff berth. In the past four years the Sun have appeared in two semifinals and two finals, but this season they have struggled against the top teams. They lost all four games against the Liberty and only managed to win one of three games against the Aces. Another major game-changer in the playoff landscape occurred for the Washington Mystics after guard Kristi Toliver was carried off the court on Sunday, and later diagnosed with a torn ACL. This new development seriously harms the Mystics’ chances of capturing the No. 6 seed. Although there are some major favorites, the 2023 WNBA championship is still anyone’s game.

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