This past Sunday marked two months inside the WNBA bubble for the Storm, which arrived at IMG Academy on July 6.
If Seattle had its druthers, it would remain in Bradenton, Florida, another month considering the WNBA Finals begin Oct. 2 and the best-of-five series could extend to Oct. 11.
On Tuesday the league announced the playoff schedule with dates, times and TV information. The postseason begins Sept. 15 with single-elimination, first-round games between No. 5 seed vs. No. 8 and No. 6 vs. No. 7.
In the second round, No. 3 faces the lowest seed and No. 4 meets the other in a single-elimination game Sept. 17.
The WNBA semifinals, which start Sept. 20, pits No. 1 against the lowest remaining team and No. 2 vs. the other in a best-of-five series that could extend to Sept. 29.
All games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
With three regular-season games remaining the playoff scenario is simple for the Storm — win one more game and secure a top-two seed, which guarantees a week of rest.
Seattle (16-3) can also wrap up one of the top two seeds if Los Angeles (14-5) loses one of its remaining three games.
Given the unique circumstances of the WNBA season where every game is being played in the same place, the difference between the No. 1 and No. 2 playoff seeds hardly matters this year.
“Probably not, down here the way it is,” Storm coach Gary Kloppenburg said during a Zoom video call. “You’re mainly looking at that first-round matchup. Who you might want to play too and see how that shakes out?
“But the other thing is, you always want to stay sharp. You can overthink it sometimes. You want to make sure you’re staying sharp, you finish the season strong and you go into that week with a real good feeling about who you’re going to play and prepare for them.”
There’s no lacking of incentive entering Wednesday’s 7 p.m. rematch between Seattle and Dallas, considering the Wings (7-12) are one of three teams vying for the No. 8 seed.
In their first meeting — an 83-65 Storm victory Aug. 14 — Seattle dominated inside (40-26 points in the paint and 47-37 rebounding) against a depleted Dallas frontcourt missing standout rookie forward Satou Sabally.
The Storm, which led from start to finish, never allowed the Wings to get closer than 10 points in the second half and built a 29-point lead in the fourth.
“They’re a lot better than the first time we played them earlier in the season,” Kloppenburg said. “I don’t think our team overlooks anybody. They know how tough this league can humble you quickly if you do that. They know we want to be playing well all through this week and going into that next week.
“They’re really focused.”
In its final two games, Seattle plays Phoenix on Friday before a regular-season finale matchup with Las Vegas.
Kloppenburg hinted he might tweak the rotation and rest the starters in those games if the Storm clinches one of the top two seeds.
“The thing with our team, they don’t like to lose,” he said. “I know they’re thinking we’re going to go and try to beat them. We’ll deal with that when we come to it. … I wouldn’t anticipate holding people out. If anything, we’d cut the minutes down.”
- Backup guard Jordin Canada, who missed the past two games due to a right-knee injury, is expected to return Wednesday. Reserve forward Morgan Tuck (right knee) also will be available after missing eight games.