WNBA buzz from new playoff format

NEW YORK (AP) " The WNBA changed its playoff format this season to ensure the best teams advanced and to create more of a buzz for the postseason.

While the playoffs don't tip-off until Wednesday, the change definitely made for an exciting finish to the regular season. Half of the eight seeds weren't determined until the final day of the regular season Sunday and only one game separated fifth place from eighth.

"This format is great as every game counts," said Atlanta's Elizabeth Williams. "We literally didn't know our seeds until the last game. I like the one and done, it's kind of like March Madness in that respect."

Williams' "one game and done" reference was in regard to the first two rounds of the playoffs, which will be single elimination contests with fifth-seeded Indiana hosting No. 8 Phoenix and seventh-seed Seattle playing at No. 6 Atlanta on Wednesday. The second round begins Saturday with New York and Chicago waiting " and it will also be single elimination.

The eight teams with the best record qualified for the playoffs, regardless of conference affiliation. And they were seeded according to their record.

"It definitely gives you a feeling that anyone has a chance to win," said Seattle guard Sue Bird. "In the past if you were the four-seed in the conference you knew you'd have a really tough time getting out of the opening round against the No.

1."

Teams will be reseeded after every round. And while it turned out that four teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences made the playoffs, the top teams with the best two records were both from the Western Conference. However, they won't play until potentially the WNBA Finals.

Minnesota and Los Angeles had the best marks all season long and earned them byes until the semifinals. The Lynx are looking to become the league's first back-to-back champions since Los Angeles repeated in 2001-02.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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