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WNBA changes playoff format, effective for 2022 season

The new format could add up to eight games to the playoff schedule.

The WNBA announced changes to their playoff format on Thur which will take effect for the 2022 season.

The new format will use the eight teams with the highest winning percentages regardless of conference over the 36-game schedule. The change will also eliminate double-byes for the top two seeds and single byes for the No. 3 and 4 seeds. Instead, the top eight teams will go at it in a bracket-style tournament.

The quarterfinals will be played in a best-of-three format and have the higher seed hosting Games 1 and 2 with the lowest seed hosting Game 3 if necessary. The WNBA Semifinals and WNBA Finals will remain a best-of five series.

In all, the change could add up to eight games to the WNBA playoff schedule, which will give all teams a bigger stage next fall.

"The new playoff format… will enable fans to engage with all of the league’s best teams and top stars right from the start of the postseason with all eight championship contenders immediately involved in exciting, first-round action," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.

"It was clear that while the prior format’s single-elimination games created a win-and-advance level of excitement to the start of the postseason, the new best-of-three series format will provide added opportunities to create and showcase rivalries with all playoff-eligible teams participating," 

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