The Field Is Set: A Look at the WNBA Playoffs

It’s WNBA postseason time! With the 2023 regular season concluded, the playoffs tip off this week, pitting the league’s top teams in a fight for the league title.

Postseason action begins Wednesday night—following these best-of-three opening round matchups, the final four teams will engage in best-of-five battles before the best-of-five Finals. 

Let’s take a look at the playoff field, as well as the first-round games, while breaking down and tiering each team.

Playoff Field

1. Las Vegas Aces
2. New York Liberty
3. Connecticut Sun
4. Dallas Wings
5. Atlanta Dream
6. Minnesota Lynx
7. Washington Mystics
8. Chicago Sky


First Round Matchups

#1 Las Vegas Aces vs. #8 Chicago Sky
#2 New York Liberty vs. #7 Washington Mystics
#3 Connecticut Sun vs. #6 Minnesota Lynx
#4 Dallas Wings vs. #5 Atlanta Dream


Let’s Tier this Open


The Top Dogs

Las Vegas Aces, 34-6 overall

Despite some minor bumps in the second half, Las Vegas has consistently been the top team in the league and should continue to display that dominance in the postseason. The Aces entered the season as the title favorite, and they remain as such, with a league-best record and sitting with the best betting odds of -145, according to FanDuel

Las Vegas, spearheaded by MVP candidate A’ja Wilson, has displayed great roster depth and balance, leading the league in both offensive and defensive ratings while showcasing too much talent on both ends of the floor for any other team to match. A few teams have managed to crack the Aces’ code at times, but it’s going to be awfully tough to beat Las Vegas over the course of a series. 


New York Liberty, 32-8 overall

It took time to build chemistry over the first half of the season, but the new-look Liberty lived up to their preseason hype, now vying for a first-ever league crown. The Liberty have been the best team behind Las Vegas, holding title betting odds of +145, according to FanDuel.

New York is playing its best basketball at the right time—led by Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, and Sabrina Ionescu—entering the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the WNBA. The Liberty should breeze through the opening round of the postseason, and, with their showcased ability to beat any team in the league, they could make things very interesting in the championship series.



Connecticut Sun, 27-13 overall

The Sun could be considered one of the “top dogs” alongside Las Vegas and New York, but they might be a tier slightly below heading into the postseason. They have done a nice job recovering from the early season Achilles injury to Brionna Jones, and the Sun should be considered a contender to make a push to the Finals. They have been a great defensive team, doing a nice job turning teams over while holding the second-best defensive rating. The Sun have displayed talent on offense as well, finishing the year with the fourth-best offensive rating.

The duo of offensive leader DeWanna Bonner and triple-double machine Alyssa Thomas can go up against any other frontcourt in the league and will be tough to contain over the course of the series. But when players outside of that duo—notably Tiffany Hayes, Natisha Hiedeman, and DiJonai Carrington—step up and contribute the way they have at the end of the year, the Sun become a team capable of beating anyone. 


Dallas Wings, 22-18 overall

It’s been a somewhat up-and-down year for the Wings—at one point viewed as a team to make a serious run in the playoffs, now a team that has come back down to reality. Dallas is still a top-four team in the league and a contender, but these Wings aren’t playing as well as they were midseason. That said, they do have the third-best offense behind only New York and Las Vegas, capable of getting hot on any given night or in any given series. 

As mentioned, Dallas has a very talented offense, led by the strong duo of Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, but takes off to another level when the post pairing of Natasha Howard and Teaira McCowan are contributing like they have over the last few weeks. If the Wings can display a bit more balance and fix some issues on defense—ranking eighth in defensive rating on that end—they could put up a strong fight against any of the top teams. 


Dark Horse

Washington Mystics, 19-21 overall

Once again, the biggest factor for Washington is health. When the Mystics are healthy, they are a top-five team. When they aren’t healthy—like most of the regular season—they turn into an average team, one that lacks the depth needed to come out on top. The good news for the Mystics: they’re getting closer to full strength, meaning a return to that top-five caliber team is possible.

It will also be interesting to see just how much players like Elena Delle Donne, Shakira Austin, and Ariel Atkins can play after being under minute-restrictions the last few weeks of the regular season. If Washington is able to get near full-strength, it can certainly play postseason spoiler. 


The Rest

Atlanta Dream, 19-21 overall

After a stellar opening to the season, Atlanta had a rough month of August, dropping down the standings entering the final month of the year. Even with those second-half struggles, the Dream grabbed a top-five playoff seed.

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Atlanta is making its first playoff appearance since 2018; there are questions about how a team without much postseason experience will handle the pressure and challenges. But the Dream have a strong offensive—led by the trio of Cheyenne Parker, Rhyne Howard, and Allisha Gray—and when they are playing well as a unit, Atlanta has the ability to be an under-the-radar squad. 


Minnesota Lynx, 19-21 overall

After an 0-6 start, the Lynx seemed destined for a lottery pick; however, they put together an impressive second half of the season, not only cracking the postseason but, at one point, sitting as a top-five team. Minnesota has continued to build chemistry and battled to win close games, despite being in the bottom half in nearly every offensive category to go along with being a bottom-three defensive team. 

On the surface, the Lynx probably shouldn’t be a team in the middle of the playoff field, but the MVP-caliber year from Napheesa Collier and veteran leadership of Kayla McBride, alongside the impressive rookie duo of Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász, has led Minnesota to a late-season ascent. The Lynx are playing with great cohesiveness and chemistry, even if they don’t bring home a title this season. 


Chicago Sky, 18-22 overall

Chicago has gone through so much as a team, from a large overhaul of the roster this offseason to former head coach and general manager James Wade leaving midseason. Yet, the Sky fought their way back into the playoff field late in the regular season, claiming the final spot with two games remaining to avoid a bottom-four finish. 

Kahleah Copper and Marina Mabrey have been outstanding for Chicago, but, outside of that duo, the Sky don’t have a ton of offensive firepower. Copper and Mabrey have accounted for 41.5 percent of Chicago’s 81.2 points per game, so they will need to step up again in the postseason. Unfortunately for the Sky, they will have an awfully tough test in the first round against the league-leading Aces. Chicago could threaten Las Vegas in a game during the opening-round series, but the Sky won’t be getting far this postseason.


Even with the expansion to 40 games, this season still managed to fly by. With eight teams left standing, playoff basketball is finally here. This could be one of the most unpredictable postseasons in recent years, making it yet another entertaining fight to stand atop the WNBA in October. 


Stats as of September 12, 2023 and courtesy of and

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